HME Subsidy Scheme

Queensland HME Subsidy Scheme for Laryngectomy

The Queensland Heat Moisture Exchange (HME) Subsidy Scheme for Laryngectomy (QHSSL) provides eligible Queensland residents who have undergone laryngectomy surgery with subsidised access to HME consumable devices.

Approved applicants are eligible for approved respiratory/HME consumables per applicant per year (12 months), commencing from when the first application for that year is lodged with MASS.

Specific eligibility and application requirements are provided in the Guidelines: Queensland HME Subsidy Scheme for Laryngectomy (PDF 310 kB).

Guidelines and Information:

Application process for Health Professionals:

Speech Pathologists and Otolaryngologists need to register for MASS-eApply to prescribe HME products for clients.

Advice and clinical support for HME users:

Please contact your speech pathologist or ENT specialist.

A HME Client Information page is available for users to view videos and download brochures on using HMEs and consumables.

Video transcript

Narrator: How is the pulmonary environment affected if you inhale through a tracheostoma instead of your nose? Let's remove the HME and travel into the airways.

We have millions of tiny hairs called cilia, that sweep back and forth, transporting mucus away from the airways. The mucus traps the dust and germs in the air that we breathe in. The cilia sweep back and forth about 10 times per second.

At the microscopic level we can see how without the use of an HME the unconditioned air is affecting the airways. The dry air is causing the cilia to move slower and mucus is building up. The drier the inhaled air, the lower the activity of the cilia. At a relative humidity of about 35% they come to a complete standstill and more thick mucus builds up.

Now let's see what happens when an HME system is used. Now the inhaled air is moisturised thanks to the HME. The cilia resume their activity and the situation normalises.

You  might experience increased coughing and mucus production during the first period while the lungs are clearing the built up mucus. The use of an HME will most likely have a significant impact on your daily life. Other users report less coughing, less mucus production, less stoma cleaning and better sleeping. To fully benefit you need to use the HME day and night.

Remember it's your new nose.

Using a HME: Patient stories

Ron’s Story - The benefits of using a HME (video)

Video transcript

Ron:  Well I found the obvious benefit is the heating of the air as it's going into your lungs. You have other benefits as well where you don't have to put your thumb over an open stoma. It's a lot more hygienic.  Also I think in public, it tends to give me a lot more confidence when I'm talking with people.

Speech Pathologist (off camera): Tell me about the secretions and the coughing.

Ron: The secretions and the coughing are way, way down. (pause) Possibly once or twice in the morning I cough, whereas before, I'd be coughing every hour, every half hour. Now I find I'm coughing three, four times a day, maximum. It's the same with the secretions. They're well and truly a lot less than usual. Obviously it's a must to anyone. As soon as you can, not just for your health, but for your own self confidence, start using your HMEs and make sure that you change them every day.

Walter's Story

Video transcript

Walter: My name is Walter Castore. I've been laryngectomised since 12 years. I'm practicing as a lawyer. My main office is in Florence and I also have an office in New York. I remember that before using the HME, big problems coughing and sleeping. When I started to use Provox HME, my life has changed, I've started again to see my friends, to go to my favourite places. It's easy to go to the second floor, making steps not using the elevator.

During the day I'm using Provox FlexiVoice. I can do whatever I want, going to the beach with my beloved dog. Now I'm using FlexiVoice I do whatever I want with my hands.

My name: Walter Castore and I have a voice.

Bill's Story

Video transcript

Bill: I'm the luckiest man in the world. I had cancer and lost my voice. I've now got it back. And I feel empowered to anything that I want to do in the future. Speaking hands free really gives me the confidence to get back to normal and interact with people the way that I did before.

I used to do gliding on the weekends as a hobby and I had to give that up.  I'm now planning to take lessons and learn to fly powered aircraft.

I enjoy driving and going and seeing places with my wife. Now, I can do that again. And I'll be able to talk to my wife in the car on the way there. Freedom to me is all about independence, but if you were to ask my wife, she would say that's when I do the cooking. She knows I cook a good Sunday roast. We'll get the family around the table. and we'll have some good food and a good chat. And there's nothing better than that.

And when people that see me months ago with the manual haven't seen me for a while and they see me talking to them now, they say, It's just like having you back Bill. And it's amazing.

Information for Clients

Instructional videos and brochures on how to use HME and laryngectomy consumables are available on the HME Client Information Page

Last updated: 23 September 2022