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South Korea experienced Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in 2015. To mitigate the threat posed by MERS, the Ministry of Health and Center for Disease Control designated hospitals to be responsible for managing any suspected or confirmed infectious patient. These hospitals receive mandatory training in managing infectious patients, but many of the trainings lack practical skills practice and pandemic preparedness exercise.
To develop and evaluate a training course designed to train healthcare providers from designated hospitals to enhance their competencies in managing emerging infectious diseases and potential outbreaks.
A two-day course was developed by the Center for Disaster Relief, Training, and Research in collaboration with the Korea Health Promotion Institute using Kern’s 6-step approach. The course consisted of didactic lectures, technical skills training, tabletop simulation, and scenario-based simulation. Table-top simulation exercises consisted of cases involving a single infectious patient detected in the outpatient clinic and outbreak in the emergency department. Scenario-based simulation exercises involved managing a critically ill infectious patient in an isolated ward. A post-survey questionnaire was used to evaluate the course and assess the perception changes of the participants. All pre-to-post differences within subjects were analyzed with paired t-tests.
A total of 121 healthcare providers participated in three separate courses. The competencies for pandemic preparedness knowledge, skills, and attitude improved from pre- to post-course. The differences were all statistically significant (p<0.05). Overall course satisfaction in average for expectation, time, delivery method, and contents were 9.5, 9.2, 9.4, and 9.2, respectively.
There needs to be tests and exercises to recognize gaps of systems in place for pandemic preparedness. Simulation exercises are ideal tools for this purpose. Although this was only a two-day intensive course, this increased familiarity with workflows, tested the coordination of workflows between different disciplines and allowed the identification of gaps.
Recent hospital fire incidents in South Korea have heightened the importance of patient evacuation. Moving patients from an intensive care unit (ICU) or emergency department (ED) setting is a challenge due to the complexity of moving acutely unwell patients who are reliant on invasive monitoring and organ support. Despite the importance of patient evacuation, the readiness of ICU and ED for urgent evacuation has not been assessed.
To enhance the readiness and competencies of workers from ICU and ED in the evacuation of patients during a simulated tabletop fire exercise.
A tabletop simulation exercise was developed by the Center for Disaster Relief, Training, and Research referencing the fire evacuation manual developed by the hospital’s ICU and ED. The scenario consisted of evacuating patients horizontally and vertically from each department. The participants’ actions were assessed using a checklist. A debriefing was completed after the exercise to discuss the gaps observed. A post-survey questionnaire was used to evaluate the exercise and assess the perception changes of the participants. All pre-to-post differences within subjects were analyzed with paired t-tests.
A total of 22 and 29 people participated in the exercise from ICU and ED, respectively. Knowledge and confidence improved post-exercise for both ICU and ED scenarios (p<0.05). Course satisfaction was 7.9 and 8.7, respectively for ICU and ED exercise. Correct performance rates for ICU and ED were 59% and 58%, respectively. Common gaps noted for both ICU and ED were wearing protective masks, patient hand-over communication, and preparation for resources.
There need to be exercises to recognize system gaps in place for hospital fire evacuation preparedness. Tabletop simulation exercises are ideal tools for this purpose. Although this was a short 90-minute exercise, this increased familiarity with the evacuation plan, tested the plan, and allowed for identification of gaps.