At Texas Children’s Hospital, in addition to the care and safety of our patients, we also view the safety of everyone visiting and working in our hospital to be a top priority. That’s why before opening outpatient services at the Pavilion for Women, we conducted realistic, emergency response simulation sessions to give our team valuable hands-on response experience in our new facility.
Simulation is a methodology that can not only be used for educating and training, but also for testing new patient care environments, equipment and processes. In situ simulation is a simulation that is physically integrated into a real clinical environment and provides a method for identifying possible safety hazards in high-risk areas and help our staff prepare for various types of emergency situations that may arise in a hospital setting. It enables the team to identify the resources, systems and design adaptations of the new facility that impact a timely response that follows best practices. We even hire actors to perform these scenarios so our team can experience the situation as close to real-life as possible. In some scenarios we used our high-tech simulation mannequins which exhibit real-life behaviors.
Whether it’s a mock smoke in a trash can or someone who needs emergency medical attention in the bistro — we prepare for different scenarios to ensure our team follows best practices in responding to such unexpected situations quickly and with the safest approach for all involved.
Simulations are also a useful practice for way finding. Before a new facility opens, it is essential that the staff is comfortable navigating their way around the building and know where things are so that response times are as rapid and efficient as possible.
Each simulation scenario conducted at the Pavilion was followed by a debriefing where the healthcare providers who participated gave feedback on how safe the new hospital environment, equipment and processes are for patient care and the safety of everyone in the building. A multidisciplinary group then met and developed action plans to address any issues that needed improvement prior to the opening of the Pavilion for Women.
Texas Children’s is proud to be one of those few hospital in the country that conducts simulations prior to opening a new facility. We feel it’s an important part of our overall goal to improve outcomes and the patient experience.
With labor and delivery services beginning in spring 2012 at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, we are already working on additional simulations to prepare for that milestone. I am proud to participate in the advance work that the entire Pavilion team is doing to safeguard our patients, visitors and staff when the unexpected arises.