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COVID-19 Simulations Invaluable To Southern DHB

May 04, 2020
1088 Views

A state-of-the-art manikin and a multi-service team of medical professionals are proving invaluable in Southern DHB’s fight against COVID-19.

Led by Southern DHB Emergency Department consultant and Otago Clinical Skills Laboratories Director Dr Ohad Dar and Otago Clinical Skills Laboratories Clinical Coordinator Paul Medeiros, along with a network of educators and clinicians, this coordinated effort has seen a series of COVID-19 ‘real life’ clinical simulations run over the last month.

“The last four weeks have been extremely demanding on front line staff due to the significant changes in our work environment and normal pathways,” says Dr Dar.

“We have taken this opportunity to provide simulation-based education for many of our frontline health workers, so they can adapt to change and feel confident in managing a range of scenarios.”

The simulation training sessions are made up of health workers from different services including ED, Anaesthetics, ICU, Nursing, Medical, Orderlies, St John, and Infection Control.

“Things done routinely now need to be methodically thought through. New processes are being developed and implemented. Clinical areas, formerly used for low acuity, have needed to be converted to spaces that care for the critically unwell.”

In each session, they are presented with a different COVID-19 scenario to work through, including transporting a patient with significant respiratory distress, patient flow through hospitals, intubation, and communication between team members wearing PPE.

“Our simulations are very much process driven and used to test new pathways, clinical environments and teach staff how to work together in these challenging times,” says Otago Clinical Skills Laboratories Clinical Coordinator Paul Medeiros.

“What makes it so unique is that it’s multidisciplinary, interdepartmental and multi-service – it’s teamwork at its best.”

Feedback from one of these sessions led the Emergency Department COVID-19 Planning Team to make changes to the Dunedin Hospital foyer, so patient arrivals could be managed more effectively.

After each simulation, the team comes together for an extensive debrief, providing a list of workarounds and recommendations to the COVID-19 Response Planning teams.

Dr Dar, who has been running simulations within Southern DHB for over five years, says it’s important simulation-based education encompasses a wide of scope of training.

“Our manikin is particularly useful to practice a specific clinical skill, to gauge how members of a team work together and to test clinical environments and pathways – and these are the priorities we are focusing on currently.”

The Otago Clinical Skills Laboratories are a joint initiative between the Dunedin School of Medicine (DSM) and the Southern District Health Board, providing clinical skills training and education to DSM undergraduate students, and to Southern DHB clinical staff.

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