For parents of premature babies, one Texas hospital is teaching them possibly life-saving techniques using computerized mannequins, reported KHOU 11 News.
The pilot program at Texas Children’s Hospital is under the leadership of Dr. Jennifer Arnold, medical director of Texas Children’s Simulation Center, best known for her role in TLC’s reality series, “The Little Couple.”
“We try to train the parents to be experts,” Arnold told KHOU.
The program works with parents of babies and children being discharged on ventilators and with tracheostomies. Participants are trained in practicing four “airway emergency scenarios,” such as a tube obstruction and what to do in the event of a power failure. The infant-sized mannequins are outfitted with tracheostomy tubes and connected to a computer interface monitored by the Simulation Center staff.
According to Arnold, Texas Children’s Newborn Center discharges between 30 and 50 patients a year who are on ventilators and have tracheostomies. The pilot program was completed in July and has trained 10 families. It is currently in a study phase.
"… The idea is to save lives, decrease mortality, and also to decrease [hospital] re-admissions for things that the parents may not just know how to handle,” Arnold said.
Already, Arnold has received a letter from a family thanking the hospital for the program after they used the techniques to revive their child during a breathing emergency.
"That's all the proof that I need that this is important," Arnold said. "By training these families in a hands-on way and mimicking real-life scenarios, we are empowering parents and arming them with the skills they need to perform life-saving care if their baby experiences an emergency at home."