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November 30, 2012

Public invited to take part in Critical Care simulations at Festival of Trees

Story by Shelly Willsey

EDMONTON — Expressions of fascination and concern fill the faces of children gathered around the gurney — as Dr. Rachel Khadaroo declares “All clear!” — as she leads the youngsters in re-starting a mannequin’s heart.

The news is good. “Look at the monitor,” she says with a smile that soon spreads to her audience. “We can see that his heart is beating now. Great job, everyone!”

The public is invited to experience this life-saving medical action firsthand this weekend as The University of Alberta’s Critical Care staff volunteers showcase interactive simulations on a mannequin as part of the University Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees in Edmonton.

The simulations will take place at the Shaw Conference Centre from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday as well as from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday night.

“We can provide a hospital, and an Intensive Care Unit, experience to adults and kids in a way that’s not frightening,” says Heather Richardson, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Intensive Care Unit. “Kids are riveted to the scenarios — they can see the technology and learn about what we do without it being a threatening experience.”

Hospital staff will be recreating how medical staff respond during cardiac and respiratory arrests in scenarios throughout the weekend. All ages are invited to assist the doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists in restarting the mannequin’s breathing and heart by listening to the breath sounds, feeling the wrists and neck for the pulse, and keeping an eye on the monitors for healthy oxygen levels in the blood.

Funds raised at the University Hospital Foundation’s 2012 Festival of Trees will support the University of Alberta Hospital’s E. Garner King Critical Care Unit and the Firefighter’s Burn Treatment Unit. Equipment purchases will go towards reducing the risk of infection, increasing patient mobility, and enhancing critical communication between the Critical Care Team.

“Our goal is to send patients home – faster, with the best possible quality of life,” says Dallas Schroeder, Patient Care Manager, General Systems Intensive Care Unit and Burns. “We are so grateful to the University Hospital Foundation for having selected us as this year’s recipient.”

From the initial organizing through to this weekend’s simulations, some 80 Critical Care staff members have given their time and expertise to make these demonstrations possible.

“It takes a multi-disciplinary team to provide our patients with care,” adds Schroeder. “This is a great way to profile our world and to show what our staff and physicians do each and every day.”