Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Simulation Helps Treat Burn Patients

An emergency burn care pilot program was conducted for first responders from rural areas. The first responders used teleconferencing and medical simulation during their training at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh and in Loretto and Johnstown. The program “Emergency Burn Care: First 24 Hours” was sponsored by the Simulation, Teaching and Academic Research Center (STAR) at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital, and Saint Francis University’s Center of Excellence for Remote and Medically Under-Served Areas (CERMUSA).

Twenty eight Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics from Blair, Cambria, and Somerset counties, as well as EMTs and Paramedics from the Greater Pittsburgh Area attended the course. The four hour program included two hours of hands-on clinical practice using medical simulators positioned at STAR in Pittsburgh and the CERMUSA site in Johnstown. The participants in Loretto were able to observe the sessions via VTC.

The simulated clinical experience began with participants learning and practicing the skills that are needed to assess and stabilize patients during the critical first hours following a burn injury. The participants in the training sessions need to know how to do a primary assessment of an acute burn victim, how to calculate initial fluid needs for the patient, and how to transfer a seriously burned patient using a teamwork approach.

STAR opened in September 2007, funded by a $500,000 grant from Highmark, $105,000 from the Eastern Pennsylvania Hospital Foundation, and nearly $200,000 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The STAR Center houses two “SimMan” mannequins that mimic real-life health conditions and serve a variety of medical professionals.

STAR will soon be home to a stationary ambulance that will be able to recreate and simulate a realistic emergency response down to the lights and sirens of the ambulance as it travels the streets. The ambulance will enable EMS providers to train for important skills such as intraosseous infusions, chest decompression, external jugular cannulations or cricos in an ambulance. The new STAR ambulance should be completed and ready to provide simulation training by the end of July.

For more information, email simulation@wpahs.org or phone (412) 578-4470.