Since 2018, Indiana has experienced an increase in ambulance calls but a decrease in EMS workers. This has created longer wait times for ambulance services, which could negatively impact outcomes, especially during emergencies like a stroke or traumatic injury.
Thus, EMS in the state often relies on volunteers to fill open positions, despite a lack of funding to train these workers. The Indiana Mobile Simulation Laboratory is helping address training gaps by bringing hands-on, simulation-based training to first responders across the state, ensuring they are prepared for real-life emergencies and that patients receive high-quality care.
Simulation Addressing EMS Training Needs
Members of the Seymour Fire Department and Jackson County Emergency Medical Services participated in joint training facilitated by the Indiana Mobile Simulation Lab. They are among the EMS and fire personnel across Indiana that regularly receive training thanks to this free educational resource provided by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. The sim lab is a repurposed ambulance equipped with high-fidelity patient simulators designed to provide training to students and seasoned EMS workers.
Indiana defines EMS as an essential public service but does not set funding or training minimums. Therefore, wealthier communities have the resources to provide more training for their EMS workers. Impoverished communities, which tend to be in rural areas, struggle to meet their workers’ training needs, contributing to worse health outcomes for people in these areas. Addressing training disparities is essential to the equitable delivery of this valuable service across the state.
For the past ten years, the sim lab has exposed participants to real-world situations in a safe environment. The simulators allow instructors to recreate emergency events and provide hands-on training in standard EMS invasive procedures, such as intubation, IV and IO access, and needle and surgical cricothyrotomy. The participants use real equipment to repeatedly practise and hone the skills needed to provide immediate lifesaving interventions.
Preparing First Responders for the Realities of Emergency Care
The joint training used an adult HAL S3201 patient simulator to facilitate emergency scenarios. To make the simulation as realistic and immersive as possible, the EMS workers and firefighters responded to simulated 911 calls throughout the day. Participants were then able to practise advanced trauma life support skills using real equipment found in the ambulance.
Since HAL’s vital signs and physical symptoms responded to the providers’ interventions, the participants experienced the consequences of their actions in real time. Thus, the scenarios recreated the fast pace and stress inherent in emergency events, helping the participants get accustomed to working under pressure. This also allows them to develop their ability to think clearly and work effectively during emergencies.
Furthermore, the participants worked collaboratively, as they would during an actual call. Although EMS workers and firefighters work together on the scene, these groups rarely train together. Effective collaboration is crucial in accomplishing shared goals, so the scenarios facilitated communication and teamwork. By training together, each group could improve their ability to work quickly and efficiently as a team.
The participants practised effective communication skills, honing how to deliver clear, complete, and timely information. Rather than having them struggle to work as a team during a real event, the sim lab facilitated safe training. As a result, the participants better understood their roles and how to work with the other team members. They could delegate tasks and coordinate procedures quickly, improving team performance for both groups and ensuring the patient received optimal care.
World’s Most Advanced Multidisciplinary Patient Simulator, HAL® S5301
There are significant barriers to providing adequate training for EMS workers and other first responders in Indiana. The availability of funding has created a fragmented system that does not meet the needs of people, especially those in rural areas. However, simulation is an effective tool in EMS training that can help fill in gaps and ensure every worker achieves the same level of readiness.
Gaumard’s multidisciplinary patient simulator HAL S5301 features life-like movement to simulate symptoms of stroke and traumatic brain injury. “HAL S5301 represents Gaumard’s next generation of astonishingly realistic patient simulators with the most advanced UNI® operating system which manages vital signs, assessments, and debriefing,” said James Archetto, Gaumard’s Vice President of U.S. Direct Sales. “In addition, HAL S5301 introduces advanced anatomy and physiology in simulated cardiac, respiratory, and vascular physiology, including arterial access, lung compliance, and high fidelity auscultation.”
Archetto added, “Real medical equipment can be used to monitor and diagnose HAL S5301’s clinical condition, just as it can be on all of our high-fidelity simulators. It is designed to be a key component for professional-level training across clinical disciplines and academic-level education. An optimised simulation program using HAL S5301 enables safe and effective learning opportunities.”
To learn more about Gaumard’s HAL S5301, visit our page at https://bmec.asia/my/gaumard