Simulation training suite opens in Fort Saskatchewan

December 7, 2017

‘Readiness centre’ a first among community hospitals in northern Alberta

FORT SASKATCHEWAN – Staff and physicians at the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital will receive more hands-on training to enhance their readiness to respond to real-time intensive situations thanks to a new simulation lab.

The Karol Maschmeyer Practice Readiness Centre opened at the hospital earlier this month.

The centre offers simulated scenarios that enable healthcare professionals to practise and master individual and team skills. Simulation prepares healthcare teams for high-risk situations, develops confidence in a safe learning environment, bridges the gap between textbook learning and real-life situations, and gives healthcare providers the freedom to learn from mistakes without causing patient harm.

The Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital Foundation launched its fundraising campaign for the simulation lab earlier this year to raise the $750,000 needed to purchase equipment and create a designated suite inside the hospital. The foundation has already raised more than $100,000 towards the campaign and hopes community donors will help them reach the campaign goal within the next three years.

“We’re hoping the community realizes how important continuing educational opportunities are to staff and physicians, and how this will enhance healthcare in our community,” says Christine Sheasgreen, Chair of the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital Foundation. “The best way for staff to respond calmly in emergency situations is to be well-trained so they feel confident providing the best possible diagnosis and treatment outcomes.”

Research shows simulation training is equivalent to clinical training and can enhance the quality of care and improve patient safety.

“Having a dedicated space to run an emergency drill will help our staff and physicians identify if there is a knowledge gap, improve communication among the team and identify if we have a process issue at the site, such as not having the right medication in the operating room,” says Kristen Moreau, a clinical nurse educator at the hospital.

“Our goal is to support our high-functioning teams and continue to deliver good patient outcomes. Having a safe place to practise together and train for real-time situations will help our staff and physicians achieve that.”

The new centre is equipped with a family of computerized mannequins that mimic a variety of scenarios, including imminent delivery, post-partum hemorrhage, immediate caesarean birth, stroke diagnosis, pediatric asthma attack and anaphylaxis.

Previously, the site had access to adult and infant simulation mannequins but only in varying spaces throughout the hospital that were not being used for patient care.

Local resident Dennis Maschmeyer donated $10,000 in his wife Karol’s memory to help kick off the campaign when the site started construction on the simulation lab in May. He has committed an additional $10,000 for next year.

When Karol was admitted to the hospital for congestive heart failure compounded by chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), Dennis’s primary goal was to ensure his wife was comfortable and her symptoms were well-managed.

“Karol was very fortunate to have a well-equipped hospital and a dedicated caring staff at her disposal,” Dennis says.

“There is always a need for continuous improvement. Suggestions made during and following Karol’s stay were well-received and acted upon. My wife was always a strong proponent of continuous learning and education. The concept of the simulation training centre is an ideal opportunity to advance patient care by providing the staff at the site and surrounding area with this capacity. It will instil both confidence and job satisfaction to the care providers.”

Fort Saskatchewan is now the first community hospital in northern Alberta with a simulation lab. There are 12 practice readiness centres throughout AHS with five more currently in the planning or building stages.

The Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital Foundation’s mandate is to enhance healthcare in our community and surrounding region by raising funds to provide needed equipment and facilities to elevate care to a higher level for all Fort Saskatchewan and area residents.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Sharman Hnatiuk
AHS Communications