Tracheostomy Product Experiences


Tracheostomy product designs have barely changed in 100 years. Existing tracheostomy designs focus on minimising costs and maintaining clinical function, often at the expense of user experience. Because tracheostomy user numbers are relatively small, their needs are overlooked despite the significant impact on their everyday lives. 

In response, this research aimed to capture tracheostomy users’ stories, advocate for greater consideration of their needs, and challenge historic stagnation in tracheostomy design. Co-design workshops were used to give tracheostomy users a voice, build a better understanding of the daily challenges they face, and explore the complex relationships they have with their tracheostomy products. 

Research findings were captured in a series of critical design artefacts intended to evoke empathy for users’ experiences and highlight problems with existing tracheostomy products. The research highlights aspects of tracheostomy user experiences requiring further research, sets a precedent for future design-led research in this area, and makes a compelling case for tracheostomy product design innovation.