A simulation lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital has been helping healthcare professionals train during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And the Surrey Hospitals Foundation is investing another $100,000 for new simulation technologies, contributing to a total of $1.3 million of funding since its inception in 2015.
Lisa Ewart, clinical practice consultation and simulation program lead in Fraser Health said the hospital foundation, along with Fraser Health and the University of British Columbia partnered together in 2015 to set up the simulation lab that includes “realistic-looking” patient rooms that have monitors, emergency equipment and mannequins that “react like real patients.”
“They can cry, blink, talk and they can respond to care that’s given by healthcare professionals,” she said.
Ewart said the lab was mostly used for better understanding patients who were deteriorating or emergency situations.
“When COVID came along back in March of last year, our focus changed to really supporting frontline healthcare workers related to what do they need to know, what do they need to do to be able to care for patients coming in with COVID?”
An example, Ewart said, is focusing on some of the “checklists and protocols” used when intubating a patient.”
“It gives them opportunities to ask more questions about why are they doing it this way, how else can they use a checklist to help inform practice so that they’re creating a safe environment for patients.”
According to a release from the Surrey Hospitals Foundation, the simulation lab conducted 217 COVID-19 process simulations and trained over 900 hospital staff members between March and June 2020 alone.
It used scenarios “that were developed based on current pandemic guidelines from the Emergency Operations Committee,” which occurred in emergency, intensive care, cardiac care, medical/surgical cohort units and COVID-19 testing centres.
The simulation lab includes three high-tech rooms, two debrief rooms, three skill rooms and one virtual reality surgical simulation room.
Ewart said the simulation lab has been able to expand into a program thanks to the funding, which provides education needs at an interdisciplinary level to healthcare professionals such as physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and nursing and medical students.
Initially, the lab started with just Ewart running it, but over the last few years and especially the past six months, it has expanded to a team of 0f 10.
“I think we’ve only just started to touch out there as to what we can actually do. There’s still many other areas that could benefit from the services such as long-term care or community areas, such as clinics. I think right now we’re just starting to break ground and there’s lots more to come.”