February 15, 2019By Lance Baily

Blindfolded Medical Simulation Training Improves Team Leader Resuscitation Performance

When HealthySimulation.com Founder Lance Baily was training to become a Fire Fighter, his final exam was a search and rescue operation inside a building that was on fire, all while completely blind folded. The simulated rescue training experience provided innumerable learning opportunities to feel his way through tying rope, moving through unknown and hazardous environments, room sweeps by holding the axe head to extend range, chainsaw startup, radio device manipulation, and emergency procedures. Consider then that removing the sense of sight from a healthcare provider provides them with the opportunity to focus training on learning how to better understand the messages received from their other senses. Today, a new study entitled “Effects of Blindfold on Leadership in Pediatric Resuscitation Simulation: A Randomized Trial” from Frontiers in Pediatrics demonstrated the same learning works in more controlled clinical environments too like simulation centers — demonstrating an 11% increase in leadership skills of Pediatric Team Leaders in resuscitation scenarios.

Science Daily  Recaps the Blindfold Simulation Research

“Our study suggests that blindfolding the leader during pediatric resuscitation simulation sessions might improve leadership skills training,” says lead author Dr Michael Buyck of the Geneva University Children’s Hospital, Switzerland. “Doctors rely heavily on healthcare simulation training to prepare for rare emergencies, so even a modest improvement like this might help save lives. Future studies should further assess the impact of blindfolded training at long-term follow-up sessions, and on clinical outcomes after pediatric resuscitation.”

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“50% of residents report feeling inadequately trained to lead cardiac arrest teams in an internal medicine study because such events are too rare,” notes Buyck. “And pediatric residents receive even less exposure to resuscitation attempts than the average.” As a result, simulation training is increasingly used to prepare medics for these and other rare medical emergencies. “Simulation-based training has been shown to be effective in teaching clinical, communication and leadership skills — improving pediatric residents’ confidence, and improving pediatric survival rate,” he adds.

Twelve teams — each composed of 1 pediatric emergency fellow, 1 pediatric resident and 2 pediatric emergency nurses — were randomly assigned to either the blindfold group or the control group. All teams participated in one session of five simulation-based resuscitation scenarios. Team leaders in the blindfold group wore a blindfold for medical simulations 2, 3 and 4. Clinical Simulations 1 and 5 were assessed by three expert evaluators blinded to the group allocation, who rated leadership skills using a standardized objective scale.

Leadership score did not differ significantly between the two groups after simulation in healthcare 1, and rose significantly more in the blindfold group than the control group at the end of the simulation 5: 11.4% versus 5.4%. Blindfold might be an efficient method for leadership training during pediatric resuscitation simulated scenarios. Future studies should further assess the effect of blindfolded training on communication skills and on clinical outcomes after pediatric resuscitation.

Having a blindfolded leader also requires other team members to improve their communication skills overall. First, all the important data need to be verbalized to keep the leader informed about the current events. Basically, this is calling out a selection of pertinent events or data. Second, team members need to take turns when communicating, because the leader will not be able to follow if they all speak at once. Finally, team members need to acknowledge requests for action, since the leader cannot see if his instructions have been heard. All of these communication tools are important for collaborative teamwork. In our study, we found a significant improvement for incomplete communication loops.

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  1. Michael Buyck, Sergio Manzano, Kevin Haddad, Anne-Catherine Moncousin, Annick Galetto-Lacour, Katherine Blondon, Oliver Karam. Effects of Blindfold on Leadership in Pediatric Resuscitation Simulation: A Randomized TrialFrontiers in Pediatrics, 2019; 7 DOI: 10.3389/fped.2019.00010
  2. Blindfolding Improves Communication in Inexperienced Residents Undergoing ACLS Training Emily Scicchitano, RRT-NPS, CPFT ; Phillip Stark, RRT, CHSE ; Paige Koetter, BS ; Nathan Michalak, BA ; Adrian D. Zurca, MD, MEd. https://doi.org/10.4300/JGME-D-20-00620.1

Read the Full Report from Science Daily!

(Lance was one of the only Fire Cadets to get 100/100 on the search and rescue final, by the way.)

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