(Munich, 13 October 2021) A joint initiative of the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) and the Medical University of Vienna with the Neonatology Division of the Paediatric Department at Dr. v. Hauner's Children's Hospital and the Institute for Emergency Medicine and Medical Management (INM) at LMU Hospital Munich represents a major step forward in terms of patient safety for Munich and Bavaria as a whole: the neonatology team at LMU Hospital is using the world's smallest and most up-to-date premature baby simulator to practice treating the very smallest babies.
In emergency situations, every move counts, especially when treating the most vulnerable group of patients, premature infants. As of today, the Munich team will use the lifelike premature baby simulator "Paul" in realistic training scenarios. The aim is to practice the routine required in stressful situations, as well as optimal work coordination and the distribution of tasks within the clinical care teams. The pioneering flagship project "Saving Lives with Paul" was developed by the EFCNI, LMU Hospital Munich and MedUni Vienna with the aim of establishing standardised simulation training as part of the ongoing education and training of clinical professionals in neonatology. This will help to permanently improve the quality of care for premature and sick babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Unlike in the aviation sector, medical simulation training is not regulated by law and this safe form of training is not yet part of routine hospital practice. Instead, in the medical profession, young members of staff often look over the shoulders of more experienced colleagues during procedures of all kinds - thereby usually learning by watching and learning by doing directly on the patient. "In Vienna, we have been training with the Paul premature baby simulator for a long time now and are pleased to share our experience with our colleagues in Munich as part of this project," explains Angelika Berger, Head of the Division of Neonatology, Paediatric Intensive Care Medicine and Neuropediatrics at the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and the Comprehensive Center for Pediatrics at the Medical University of Vienna in Vienna General Hospital.
The well-founded training concept envisages recruiting master trainers in addition to entire hospital teams and training them under real conditions on the premature baby simulator. In the second phase of the project, these trainers will in turn extend this training to other delivery units in Bavaria and, in the long term, to the whole of Germany (and eventually Europe). "We would like to see simulation training become established practice in neonatal medicine as it is, for example, in aviation and other high-risk sectors," explains Silke Mader, Executive Chair and founder of EFCNI.
In addition to these comprehensive training courses, the project will be evaluated under the direction of Andreas W. Flemmer, Head of Neonatology at LMU Hospital. "I am delighted that we are the first hospital in Munich to implement this ground-breaking project, which combines research, teaching, parents and industry in such an exemplary way. It is particularly important to me that the staff in our premature baby and neonatal intensive care units receive the best possible training!" says Flemmer. MedUni Vienna, in collaboration with the Neonatology Department at LMU Hospital Munich and EFCNI, will evaluate the training in order to show, based on data for Germany, what impact training on the "Paul" premature baby simulator has on patient safety, as well as on the level of satisfaction and self-confidence of hospital staff. EFCNI hopes that this project will help to make regular simulation training standard and compulsory in the continuous education and training of doctors and nursing staff and to work towards statutory regulation.