Improving Pediatric Preparedness in Critical Access Hospital Emergency Departments: Impact of a Longitudinal In Situ Simulation Program

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Abstract

Objectives

Critical access hospitals (CAH) see few pediatric patients. Many of these hospitals do not have access to physicians with pediatric training. We sought to evaluate the impact of an in situ pediatric simulation program in the CAH emergency department setting on care team performance during resuscitation scenarios.

Methods

Five CAHs conducted 6 high-fidelity pediatric simulations over a 12-month period. Team performance was evaluated using a validated 35-item checklist representing commonly expected resuscitation team interventions. Checklists were scored by assigning zero point for “yes” and 1 point for “no”. A lower final score meant more items on the list had been completed. The Kruskal-Wallis rank test was used to assess for differences in average scores among institutions. A linear mixed effects model with a random institution intercept was used to examine trends in average scores over time. P < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results

The Kruskal-Wallis rank test showed no difference in average scores among institutions. (P = 0.90). Checklist scores showed a significant downward trend over time, with a scenario-to-scenario decrease of 0.022 (P < 0.01). One hundred percent of providers surveyed in the last month stated they would benefit from ongoing scenarios.

Conclusions

Regularly scheduled pediatric simulations in the CAH emergency department setting improved team performance over time on expected resuscitation tasks. The program was accepted by providers. Implementation of simulation-based training programs can help address concerns regarding pediatric preparedness in the CAH setting. A future project will look at the impact of the program on patient care and safety.

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