Ultraviolet Light in Medical Simulation PPE Research Shows Spread of COVID-19 Contamination
EMS1.com’s Laura French reported this week that researchers have conducted a medical simulation experiment showing contaminants left on the skin after improper PPE use when treating a patient. Published in the Journal of Medical Education, the researchers from Florida Atlantic University and University of Arizona used ultraviolet reactive substances to show how quickly contamination can spread. This is why using medically simulated training is so important during the COVID-19 pandemic, because coronavirus simulation might save countless lives! Let’s take a deeper dive…
EMS1: EMS Simulation Reveals Contamination from Improper PPE Use
A physician from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine and collaborators from the University of Arizona College of Medicine -Tucson and the Indiana University School of Medicine conducted the simulation to show the importance of using proper procedures to put on and take off PPE, according to Florida Atlantic University news release. The team demonstrated how aerosol-generating procedures can lead to exposure of contagions using a fluorescent solution and ultraviolet light.
Lead author Patrick G. Hughes, D.O., director of FAU’s emergency medicine simulation program and his collaborators used the nontoxic solution during a PPE training session for healthcare staff. They placed a highlighter refill in a warm water bath for 15 minutes to create the solution, which is only visible under UV light.
For the experiment, which was published in the journal Medical Education, the researchers instructed healthcare staff to put on PPE, including a cap, gown, surgical gloves, eye protection, a face shield and an N95 mask. Supplies were wiped off and reused for multiple trainings to conserve supplies. After healthcare staff put on their PPE, they went into a room to care for a simulated patient sprayed down with the invisible simulated contagion. The researchers also added the fluorescent solution to a simulated albuterol nebulizer treatment, which was given to the mannikins during the scenario.
After completing the healthcare simulation, the staff remained in their PPE and were taken to another room to remove their PPE. The lights were turned off and a black-light flashlight was used to identify the clinical simulation contagion on the PPE, both on the gloves and gowns from directly touching the simulated patient and on the face shields and masks from the aerosolized solution.
Following the flashlight examination, the healthcare staff completely removed their PPE. Researchers discovered the presence of fluorescent solution on the staff members’ skin, which represented exposure to the contagion and indicated they made an error while putting on or taking off their PPE. The results revealed the most common error made was contamination of the face or forearms during PPE removal. In contrast, those who put on and took off their PPE according to guidelines had no signs of contamination on their skin or face.
“This medical simulation training method allows educators and learners to easily visualize any contamination on themselves after they fully remove their personal protective equipment,” said Hughes in a statement. “We can make immediate corrections to each individual’s technique based on visual evidence of the exposure.” By providing healthcare staff with visual evidence of protection during patient encounters with high-risk aerosol-generating procedures, this training simulation aims to build trust in protective equipment and in proper donning and doffing procedures.
“This experiment demonstrated that following PPE training improves workplace safety and decreases the risk of transmission,” said Hughes. Kate E. Hughes, D.O., of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson and Rami A. Ahmed, D.O., of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis co-authored the study. Read the full EMS1 article here!
More from the Florida Atlantic University News Desk
Hughes also conducted this training technique with FAU’s emergency medicine resident physicians in the medical school’s Clinical Skills Simulation Center, which uses high-tech and high-fidelity patient mannequins in life-like hospital and emergency room settings. The center applies sophisticated simulation and trainer technologies to educate medical students, resident physicians, registered nurses, first responders, certified nursing assistants, home health aides and community health care providers. The sim labs have created models of hospital rooms, patient examination, and emergency rooms for simulated patient treatment. The rooms are fully equipped with hospital beds, gurneys or exam tables, monitors, IV poles, defibrillators, blood pressure cuffs, simulated oxygen ports, otoscopes and ophthalmoscopes and all equipment and supplies required to respond to medical and nursing interventions, including emergencies.
Results from the experiment revealed that the most common error made by the health care staff was contaminating the face or forearms during PPE removal. In contrast, those who put on and took off their PPE according to guidelines had no signs of the fluorescent contagion on their skin or face.
The simulation team uses high fidelity wireless, full body male and female manikins. The patient simulators track all actions taken and all pharmacological agents given to the patients. If incorrect drugs or dosages are administered, the high-fidelity simulator responds exactly as a human patient would respond. Preceptors and session facilitators provide guidance during the medical simulations. Read the full FAU research update here!
Lance Baily, BA, EMT-B, is the Founder & CEO of HealthySimulation.com, which he started while serving as the Director of the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas back in 2010. Lance is also the Founder and acting Advisor to the Board of SimGHOSTS.org, the world’s only non-profit organization dedicated to supporting professionals operating healthcare simulation technologies. His new co-edited Book: “Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice” is available now. Lance’s background also includes serving as a Simulation Technology Specialist for the LA Community College District, EMS fire fighting, Hollywood movie production, rescue diving, and global travel. He lives with his wife Abigail in Las Vegas, Nevada.