By: Jenna Lance
The UF Health Pediatric Trauma Program and Alachua County Fire Rescue, or ACFR, hosted approximately 65 community paramedics for a three-day educational outreach opportunity in an effort to improve patient safety and quality of care for pediatric trauma patients.
The event was the first of its kind between ACFR and UF Health and included two pediatric trauma simulations and two pediatric skills stations. Mannequins were used to enact real-life scenario simulations. One simulation included a baby having difficulty breathing and demonstrating neurological issues. This simulation mirrored a high suspicion for non-accidental trauma, such as child abuse.
The second simulation was an adolescent mannequin bleeding from a leg and a head injury. Ultimately, the simulations were used to find areas of improvement for paramedics to focus on for the future.
In addition to patient simulations, there were also two pediatric skills stations. One station focused on intubation airway management, where paramedics learned how to intubate mannequins of various sizes, the smallest being a premature baby. A pediatric anesthesiologist taught paramedics how to properly intubate and also shared possible situations they could experience when intubating an adolescent.
The simulations and skills stations highlighted the stark differences between treating pediatric and adult patients. They also emphasized the importance of working more collaboratively, especially when time is of the essence in pediatric traumas.
After the simulations and skills stations, paramedics debriefed on how they could implement their skills into practice, and they discussed the challenge of the time it takes for hospital staff to be notified about an incoming pediatric trauma.
Since the event, Shawn Larson, M.D., FACS, the medical director for the UF Health Pediatric Trauma Program, has recognized an improvement in communication between paramedics and the pediatric trauma unit. Larson reiterated how crucial it is for paramedics and clinicians alike to effectively communicate with one another, especially before a patient arrives at the hospital. As an example, a few days after the event, there was a motor vehicle accident on I-75 involving an adult and children. After paramedics arrived on scene and assessed the situation, they notified the pediatric trauma team to alert them about the incoming accident victims and their various injuries. In this instance, paramedics provided a 40-minute ETA, giving the unit time to locate additional providers and prepare for multiple pediatric patients. This quick communication is an example of what they hope to continue improving moving forward.
UF Health plans to open up this event in the future to EMS providers in our surrounding counties as it is a great learning experience for all.