Hands-on, high-tech training improves care for Maine’s sickest children

Release Date: 4/30/2015 12:00:00 AM

NORWAY, Maine—LifeFlight of Maine recently brought its signature Pediatric Patients on the Edge conference to Stephens Memorial Hospital. Led by Eric Gunnoe, MD, pediatric intensivist at Maine Medical Center, this comprehensive training combines classroom lecture with the newest hands-on patient simulation technology to teach emergency physicians, nurses and paramedics the skills they need to provide the best possible care.

Hundreds of emergency medical professionals from across the state have received this grant-funded training that focuses on the assessment and management of critically ill and injured children, and answers questions about complicated situations that providers rarely see.

“We have a relatively low volume of pediatric patients here at Stephens and any opportunity to learn and practice is invaluable,” said Jeanne Rosato, RN, BSN. “The combination of lecture and hands-on experience makes this course an excellent learning opportunity. How often do we actually get to observe the lung tissue during assisted respirations and see the result of our interventions?”

In the classroom portion of the training, Dr. Gunnoe presented case studies that help illustrate the most current best practices in pediatric critical care. Following the lecture, LifeFlight crew members facilitated small group, hands-on training using a combination of high-tech patient simulators and common medical equipment. Participants have the opportunity to practice skills such as dispensing appropriate medication dosages for children; using bag valve masks; and administering intraosseous infusions (IO is an alternative method to administer medications, blood or liquids quickly using a drill to directly access the patient’s bone marrow cavity) in a risk-free environment. In addition, providers practiced responding to life-like scenarios using infant and pediatric patient simulators programmed to react appropriately to whatever treatment was given. This unique opportunity helps providers learn to recognize signs and symptoms of serious illness or injury, and care for the patient as a team.

“The case report scenarios with Dr. Gunnoe were the most beneficial,” said Michael Mohseni, MD. “The course did a great job highlighting key points in pediatric intensive care situations. I walked away with more confidence to treat my next critical pediatric patient.”

Funding for this conference comes from several sources including the Sam L. Cohen Foundation, Phineas W. Sprague Memorial Foundation, Walmart Stores of Maine (Auburn, Falmouth, Lincoln, Presque Isle, Scarborough, Skowhegan and Thomaston), Sam’s Club in Augusta and Northern Maine Community College.

LifeFlight of Maine is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit air medical and critical care transport organization. LifeFlight helicopters, flying at 165 miles per hour, bring lifesaving critical care professionals and equipment directly to the patient. It also provides advanced emergency medical training to Maine’s hospitals, emergency medical services (EMS) and public safety agencies. Overseen by 21 physicians, LifeFlight cared for more than 1,600 critically ill and injured patients last year. Since its inception in 1998, LifeFlight has transported more than 18,000 patients from every hospital and nearly all of Maine’s communities and islands.