The role of simulation training in neonatal care


Providing the best care to critically ill infants, whether they are born preterm or at term, is a daily challenge for medical teams, no matter how experienced they already are. Unforeseen complications or sudden developments can arise quickly and may require rapid action. In these instances, the entire care team may need to provide a coordinated response to ensure that the tiny patient continues to survive and thrive. These are often extremely complex and time-sensitive situations, and the better trained the team handling the patient is, the higher the chances of good outcomes are. Yet, in the daily hospital settings, doctors and nurses, particularly those at the beginning of their careers, have only few opportunities to actually practice how to handle crisis situations.   Interdisciplinary simulation training is quickly proving to be an answer to this problem. The approach describes the practicing of critical care situations and medical emergencies with the help of a highly realistic patient simulators and “real” hospital equipment. It assumes that a highly realistic training setting encourages participants to deeply engage with the practice matter, better retain what they learned, and ultimately apply their new skills with confidence in real-life situations.   What is more, in these simulation trainings, the entire care team trains together and practices measurements and procedures with one another in a safe setting, thus also strengthening team spirit, cohesion, and efficiency. When it comes to maternal and newborn care, this multidisciplinary approach brings together the care and medical staff from obstetrics, gynecology, neonatology, and pediatrics as well as midwives and anesthetists. Over time, simulation training has the potential to create specialist teams which perform care procedures together to successfully treat patients in high-risk situations.   Dr. Jens-Christian Schwindt, a neonatologist from Austria driven by his desire to improve the care for preterm and newborn infants, founded SIMCharacters in 2012. Together with a diverse team of experts, he has developed some of the most realistic infant simulators available. Paul, a patient simulator the size of a preterm infant born after the 27th week of gestation and weighing only 1,090 grams, has been available since 2021. In January this year, his “sister” Emily was unveiled, a term-born girl weighing 3,400 grams. Just like Paul, Emily has highly realistic internal and external anatomy, allowing healthcare professionals to train for crisis scenarios like resuscitation, respiratory distress syndrome or seizures. As this example shows, simulation training is one way to make neonatal care better and safer. Congratulations to Dr. Schwindt and his team!  

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Gratulujeme! The standards on NICU Design have been translated into Slovakian


Thanks to the initiative of EFCNI’s partner parent organisation in Slovakia, malíček, the standards on NICU Design have been successfully translated into Slovakian. Malíček coordinated the undertaking, which relied solely on volunteers. The Slovakian Association of Neonatal Nurses supports the endeavour. MUDr. Jana Balážiková, Mgr. Katarína Bartóková, Mgr. Mária Nosáľová Grežďová, and Marianna Šuljová formed the translation team which worked to translate the three individual standards which comprise the topic of NICU Design.   The translation makes the standards accessible to a wider audience in Slovakia and contributes to an important national conversation on how NICUs should be designed and built to further neonatal health. Currently, there are plans to build a new hospital in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, and several hospitals within the country will be renovated and modernised with the help of EU funding. Malíček is advocating strongly for the consideration of the standards on NICU Design during the planning processes of these building projects.   We applaud malíček and their team for the effort and work put into the translation project. You can access the Slovakian standards here and via this website. © malíček

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Roadmapping the future of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health: The 6th Chair Committee Meeting to take place in March


Since their initial launch and publication in 2018, the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) have not only continuously grown and become widely known and referenced. There have, in fact, been several projects across Europe to implement them on a national level – most recently in Italy. In order to encourage and support projects of this kind in the future as well as to ensure that the ESCNH remain up-to-date, EFCNI has called for a Chair Committee Meeting this March. From 1 to 3 March 2023, more than 30 experts from 16 countries will gather in Freising, Germany, to discuss the path ahead for the ESCNH. The objective of this meeting is to join forces with the experts behind the ESCNH and tap into their wide-ranging knowledge and skills to set the ESCNH up for success in the coming years. The Chair Committee of the ESCNH is made up of a diverse group of specialists in a wide range of disciplines, including gynaecology, neonatology, and paediatrics. Parent representatives also form part of the Chair Committee and, as Parent, Patient and Public Advisory Board, enrich discussions with their unique perspective and ensure that the parental voice is always heard and considered. During the upcoming meeting in March, sessions will discuss past, present, and future activities surrounding the implementation of the ESCNH. Dr Gina Ancora, a member of the Italian Society of Neonatology and the Italian Task Force to implement the ESCNH, will share her experiences and insights. Moreover, 76 individual standards are up for review in 2023/2024. Each standard has a specific lifecycle functioning as an inbuilt mechanism to ensure that the ESCNH continue to represent the state of the art. Thus, the 2023 Chair Committee Meeting will also see members debating in smaller working groups strategies on how to efficiently and effectively revise and review standards as well as develop new ones. We want to take this opportunity and thank everyone involved in the ESCNH for their continuing commitment to the ESCNH and their dedication towards improving neonatal care in Europe!

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