Each year, with the help of the community, the Cumberland Health Care Auxiliary raises thousands of dollars in support of medical equipment at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.

Members of the auxiliary got a first-hand look recently at how that equipment is saving lives and giving medical professionals at the hospital the training aids to ensure they can serve patients when they are at their sickest.

“We have a lot of new grads on our nursing staff and there are things that happen that don’t happen every day. With this they can practice,” Nora Doucet, director of health services and site manager at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, said. “The nursing trainers can take them on a one-on-one basis or as a group to go through different scenarios. Often, it’s the skills they don’t use every day. There are tonnes of things we can do.”

The simulator is very life-like from the skin texture, to showing vitals (or the lack thereof in serious cases), it’s eyes blink and various fluids (fortunately not the real thing) can come out of the mannequin to simulate some of the conditions nurses will face when treating a patient either in the emergency room, the ICU or medical unit.

“We can have her in a state and make her get much worse, or better, depending on what takes place,” Doucet said.

Nurse-educator Lisa Sangster said the mannequin and the software can mimic what could happen if the wrong treatment is giving – as well as the right treatment.

“If the nurse says ‘let’s give the patient this drug’ we can simulate what would happen if it’s the wrong choice we can make her get really sick or if it’s the right drug we can make her get better,” Sangster said.

The mannequin’s eyes can blink, different eyes can be put in the sockets to simulate pupil size and it can cry in pain, retch or exhibit various breathing conditions from shortness to breath, to coughing and regular breaths.

It can also have various heartbeats and conditions and the mannequin can talk, or have the instructor talk through the mannequin.

All of that can be controlled from a wireless controller and from another room. “The goal of Laerdal Medical from the very beginning has been to help save lives,” company representative Shane Peddle said. “We don’t save moves; we want to help people save more lives. Nursing Anne was our original nursing mannequin. She didn’t do much. She didn’t breathe. She focused on nursing schools. Now, our nurses need to be engaged more and this sort of game-ifies it because adults learn better when it’s like a game or a challenge. Instead of sitting in a classroom doing CPR, they are learning how to react to different situations.”

For the auxiliary it shows how money raised in the community helps bring about better health care outcomes.

“It’s really impressive. Money sitting in the bank doesn’t help the hospital, but these pieces of equipment do,” auxiliary member Ida Roode said. “This shows how important it is to raise money in the community because it’s something we’re going to have the benefits from.”

Money for the purchases was raised through events like the Highland Fling as well as the coffee shop and gift shop at the regional hospital. All the equipment that is purchases stays with the hospital.

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Doucet said support from the auxiliary and the Cumberland Health Care Foundation goes a long way toward providing quality care to patients. She said the auxiliary and the foundation are go-to organizations when things are needed quickly.

“We put all these things on a list and they and the foundation pick what they want to purchase,” Doucet said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

The Philips V680 Bipap Machine provides critical care where a ventilator is not required while the ventilator, which was purchased last year, provides care when someone is in critical condition and needs intubation.

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