VIDEO: Fake patients, real training: New lab to provide vital health care practice

Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation receives $370,250 donation to create simulation lab

The computerized mannequins may not be real, but the lessons learned will be.

A new regional “simulation lab” – the brainchild of a group of local doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists – will give local health care workers a space to practise communication, teamwork and skills they use to treat sick patients.

This week, the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation received a $370,250 from the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District to finance initial start-up costs for new lab, which will be built at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and open next March.

The aim is for the lab to be used not just by ARH staff, but by health workers and even community members from around the Fraser Valley. The lab will feature “computerized mannequins that simulate real-life scenarios,” according to the foundation.

Hospital staff already take part in training exercises, but studies have shown simulation-based procedures produce better outcomes. Emergency physician Dr. Michael Yatscoff – who was a member of the Abbotsford Simulation Group that sparked the idea – noted that around 70 per cent of “patient safety events” are due to failures of teamwork and communication.

“A huge portion of these errors are preventable by fostering good communication and improving teamwork amongst health professionals,” Yatscoff said in a press release.

While simulation training is part of many programs and provided at spots around B.C. and Canada, the simulation group found there to be a “near-total absence of simulated training at ARH and within the Fraser East region.”

The new lab is meant to address that need and create a program that is self-sustaining. The project needs another $100,000 to reach its goal of $500,000, which will cover the initial start-up costs and the first year of administration and operation. For more, visit fvhcf.ca.