In rural communities across the United States, access to quality healthcare is far more difficult than in urban communities. A lack of clinicians and healthcare facilities in these areas means people who live in rural communities face higher incidences of disease and worse health outcomes. For this reason, several hospitals and emergency responders in Lincoln County, Oregon, participated in simulation-based trauma training to be better prepared to handle coordinated care.
Time is essential during trauma emergencies. In a matter of minutes, a patient can suffer irreparable damage or death if appropriate care is not given. Moreover, care for trauma patients is delivered by teams who must quickly coordinate care and work collectively. In this environment, information is constantly changing, so teams must remain alert and work together to keep goals in focus. Research has shown that poor communication and teamwork skills can contribute to errors and poor patient outcomes.
To ensure better patient outcomes, Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital (SPCH), Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital (SNLH), Pacific West Ambulance, Life Flight Network, North Lincoln Fire and Rescue, and Newport Fire Department participated in the simulation-based training. The participants practiced in-the-field assessment, clinical decision-making, and teamwork skill using Gaumard’s adult and pediatric high-fidelity patient simulators.
“This training was to help identify gaps across our agencies in how we care for patients experiencing trauma,” SPCH Emergency Management Coordinator Ericka Mason said.
Additionally, the scenarios were designed to improve coordination between the various groups who will treat a trauma patient. For example, EMS professionals at the scene of a car accident will treat a car crash victim. The patient will then be stabilized and transported to a hospital and receive further care in the ER or ICU. Good communication skills and coordination between those groups ensures that the patient receives appropriate and seamless care.
According to Jeff Trapp, SNLH Emergency Management Coordinator, “The simulation trainings…were designed to provide EMS, hospital, and transport teams the chance to practice our collaboration efforts on behalf of emergency patients.”
Although Lincoln County’s various healthcare agencies coordinate care frequently, much of the county is rural. Moreover, limited resources make delivering care more difficult. Thus, simulation-based healthcare training was vitally important in identifying gaps and ensuring trauma patients receive timely care.
According to a CDC report, people living in rural communities have higher rates of heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury (including vehicle accidents and opioid overdoses), chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke compared to urban communities. Death rates from these diseases are also much higher for people living in rural communities due to a lack of access to emergency care.
Mason hopes the training will help each agency understand its capabilities and reduce wait times for getting specialized patient care to the patient. With regular practice, healthcare outcomes for people living in Lincoln County’s rural communities could see a significant improvement.
While Lincoln County trauma teams often run scenarios using volunteers who act as trauma patients, some procedures are too invasive to perform on a live healthy person. Using Gaumard’s adult and pediatric manikins, the teams can practice a variety of invasive procedures like inserting an intubation tube.
Likewise, participants can go through a trauma scenario multiple times until procedures become second-nature. Since participants can practice delivering a higher level of care on high-fidelity manikins than they could with volunteers, Lincoln County clinicians and first responders can work together to eliminate gaps in their knowledge. Simulation-based training will help ensure that these healthcare professionals can face any emergency scenario and provide effective care.
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