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The Women's and Children's Hospital is located on the traditional lands for the Kaurna people, and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge that the Kaurna people are the custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

Fragile Airways Program

The Fragile Airways Program supports children within South Australia up to the age of 17 who have a tracheostomy.

Established in 2009, the program believes that children with a tracheostomy have the right to participate fully in their community and to have the same choices, opportunities and experiences as other children their age. The aim of the program is for families to become more confident in caring for their child at home.

The Fragile Airways Program provides in home overnight tracheostomy airway health care support. Each staff member is carefully selected and trained to meet the child’s specific airway needs.

The Team

The Fragile Airways Program team consists of the ENT Nurse Practitioner and Senior Social Worker at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The in-home overnight staff are funded through a tender agreement with an external nursing agency who work closely with the ENT Nurse Practitioner and FAP Social Worker.

Transition to home

The Fragile Airways team will work with other members of the multidisciplinary hospital team, to ensure each child has the necessary resources to be cared for safely at home. For those families who live rural, close links with the local health team will be established before discharge. An “Assessment@Home” is carried out by the Fragile Airways team before discharge, to assess the requirements for home in relation to the care needs of the child.

Care in the home

Families are encouraged to work in partnership with the Fragile Airways team and external nursing agency. A health support plan is developed in consultation with the family that outlines the care required. All in-home health care is “active" shifts. As the child becomes older, there is a planned reduction of in-home overnight care overnight which occurs at safe intervals in discussion with the family.


ENT Nurse Practitioner
Ms. Silvia O'Connor

Fragile Airways Senior Social Worker
Ms. Raechel Joyce



(08) 8161 7000

Mailing Address

Fragile Airways Program
Women's and Children's Hospital
72 King William Road
North Adelaide
South Australia 5006