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Project focuses on responses to deteriorating patients


A simulation project in Devon aims to help improve staff responses to patients whose condition is deteriorating.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust Simulation Fellows Dr Mike Foster, Sophie King and Tracy Mason under the mentorship of Dr Catherine Ward, Dr Michelle Chopra, Rachel Garlick and Dr Paul Sice have developed training sessions to work with colleagues across teams in the acute wards to improve patient safety following a successful funding bid to Health Education England.

The project expands on the simulation and human factors work already undertaken in this field over the past ten years within the trust hospitals by its own simulation faculty team. 

The new training is aimed at helping doctors, nurses, health care assistants and doctors’ assistants to react more quickly and effectively if they have a patient with such symptoms as chest pain and breathing problems or conditions like sepsis, the last of which has been a particular focus of the project.

So far more than half the staff in these wards have participated in these training sessions using highly-realistic mannequins to make the learning experience as close to real life as possible.

Dr Foster said: “Using simulation in this way makes the experience very real and allows us to simulate situations that do not happen very often.

“It also helps with other aspect of care like ergonomics, helping people to know where things are and so they can get them in an emergency.

“The training sessions, which last up to two hours, move at quite a pace. Some people are a little uncertain to start with but once they get used to it they enjoy the experience.”

The training provides staff with the opportunity to explore and discuss aspects of work such as team communication, escalation, task allocation and challenging authority.

This process helps staff to identify issues and discuss solutions, which can drive improvement and ultimately increase patient safety. It also helps staff to manage the patient as in real life, but without any risk of adverse effects on the patient outcome.

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