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Plymouth hospitals invest in ‘sim man’ for staff training

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A lifelike, interactive mannequin that moves, talks and can display vital signs including breathing and heartbeat is being introduced at Derriford Hospital to improve patient safety.

The Human Factors Project, which has recently been launched by Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, involves using the high tech mannequin to train hospital staff in lifelike situations.

“Potential errors can be picked up before they happen”

Catherine Ward

It is hoped the improvement will lead to a reduction in length of hospital stays and admissions to the intensive care unit.

Dr Catherine Ward, one of the project leaders, said the trust planned to roll-out the mannequin-based training from intensive care, where it had already proved successful, to other wards.

She said the form of simulation training being used – called ‘point of care training’ because it took place in clinical treatment areas – had helped improve team performance, adherence to protocols and improved non-technical skills and patient outcomes

It had also helped to “pick up glitches or latent errors” in the healthcare system, such as difficulty accessing drugs in an emergency or lack of appropriate equipment, she said.

“Potential errors can be picked up before they happen and systems can be changed to make it easier for staff to perform well as individuals and also as part of a team,” she said.

The project, which has been funded by Health Education South West as part of a grant which is also paying for two clinical educators, one doctor and one nurse for a year.

It is due to be rolled out to the trust’s surgical assessment unit in September.

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