The air ambulance team of Alberta Health Services (AHS) has come up with a novel, down-to-earth way to perfect their skills.
In fact, they never leave the ground on Canada’s first mobile flight simulation trailer—developed in-house by AHS and partners—and unveiled last June by Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
The flight simulation trailer features the fuselage of a King Air 200 aircraft mounted on hydraulics to simulate takeoff and landing. The simulator complements existing training and gives trainees hands-on learning with the delivery of patient care as well as the placement of supplies and equipment on an air ambulance aircraft.
“Medics are already trained when they come in,” says Brent Thorkelson, EMS staff development officer and project lead, “but we’re providing them with simulations that are evidence-based.”
Based at Edmonton International Airport, the flight simulation trailer will travel across Alberta to train EMS air ambulance paramedics, as well as partners in ground ambulance, hospital-based teams, post-secondary institutions and other healthcare professionals.
There are 10 air ambulance bases and about 225 AHS air ambulance paramedics across the province.
“There weren’t any other examples of mobile simulation units that use an actual aircraft fuselage, so it was up to our team to determine how to make it work,” says Thorkelson.
“Fitting an aircraft with simulation equipment into a trailer and making it mobile was a unique process.”
A fully-equipped King Air 200, which replicates Alberta’s fixed-wing air ambulances, was donated by Lakeland College. The simulator’s design was developed by the Learning & Development team of AHS EMS in collaboration with AHS air ambulance and AHS partners.
“We’re committed to ensuring all Albertans have access to high-quality air ambulance care,” says EMS chief paramedic Darren Sandbeck.
“Simulation training enables learners to practise and master individual and team skills. lt’s a benefit to our patients to have well-rehearsed teams delivering care.”
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