Collaboration in Action: Leveraging Simulation Education to Prevent ED Visits

In Iowa, a 2019 needs assessment conducted by faculty from the University of Iowa College of Nursing found Iowa emergency medical services (EMS) and hospital education to be at a critical juncture. Though in-situ, or real world, simulation training was highly valued, few hospitals or EMS agencies had the finances, equipment and trained educators to provide it. As a result, in 2022 the University of Iowa College of Nursing launched Simulation in Motion – Iowa (SIM-IA), a mobile education program designed to bring state-of-the-art clinical education to EMS and hospital professionals throughout Iowa using high-fidelity human patient simulators and trainers. SIM-IA brings clinical simulation to the healthcare providers in their clinical settings, rather than requiring travel to simulation centers. This unique and innovative program allows for more healthcare professionals to train together without disrupting staffing or patient care while also reducing education and travel expenses.

Telligen is proud to have collaborated with the University of Iowa College of Nursing’s SIM-IA education team on the curriculum development for a new training opportunity – nursing home staff education on screening for early identification of sepsis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure (CHF). Nursing home protocols for interventions to avoid emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalization were followed, and emphasis was placed on recognizing the resident’s change of condition. Simulation manikins mimic a resident experiencing signs and symptoms of sepsis, COPD and CHF exacerbation, allowing healthcare providers to react in a safe setting. As part of the sepsis curriculum, Telligen incorporated INTERACT tools including the Stop and Watch Tool, Management of Possible Sepsis Flow Diagram and the SBAR Communication Form.

“We were excited to partner with Telligen on this opportunity and use our team’s expertise and mobile simulation unit in a new way,” said Jacinda Bunch, SIM-IA senior program advisor and assistant professor in the University of Iowa College of Nursing. “Recognizing changes in a resident’s health condition is a key component in preventing ED visits, and utilizing our mobile simulation unit to bring real-world training opportunities to nurses in care facilities helps build their skills in recognizing these changes.”

Telligen team member Kathleen Ollinger attended and participated in a pilot SIM-IA experience for long-term care givers at Oaknoll Retirement Residence. Oaknoll is an active lifecare community located in Iowa City, IA and is part of the Telligen QI Connect™ network. Oaknoll administrator Kim Bergen-Jackson collaborated with the University of Iowa College of Nursing to bring the new SIM-IA curriculum to her facility and experience the mobile simulation unit firsthand.

“The SIM-IA experience allowed us to bring state-of-the-art equipment and specific scenarios directly to our long-term care nurses. The simulation staff were very professional and created a positive learning environment. I appreciated the opportunity to bring the simulations to life with the manikins followed by team discussions to increase our nurses’ knowledge and confidence. This was a huge success for everyone and well worth the time and effort.”

Kim Bergan-Jackson, PhD, RN-BC, LNHA

Administrator, Oaknoll Retirement Residence

The SIM-IA experience at Oaknoll included a strong emphasis on pathophysiology and pharmacology of COPD, CHF and sepsis. Focus was placed on clinical education to identify different breath sounds for COPD, CHF and pneumonia; to understand the different pharmacokinetics of rescue inhalers for COPD and CHF; and to use SBAR communication with the provider while following Oaknoll’s disease pathways. Oaknoll Retirement Residence did not have a sepsis screening process in place prior to the mobile simulation unit visit but is now utilizing the INTERACT Stop and Watch Tool for sepsis screening. On-site training allows for a supportive environment with small groups involving real-world clinical scenarios using facility pathways specific to that organization for enhanced clinical decision making. 

This collaboration with the University of Iowa College of Nursing also incorporated data collection points for pre- and post-data following the simulation mobile unit experience for nursing home training on sepsis, COPD and CHF. Telligen identified Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) claims data from Care Compare for short and long stay facilities and how to pull data that pertains to ED utilization and readmissions. Telligen’s data analytics team created a Care Compare Data Catalog which can be accessed here.

“SIM-IA allows freedom to make and learn from mistakes in a supportive environment. The Oaknoll staff utilized this great opportunity using their facility’s own policies and procedures to assist in implementing workflows.”

Kathleen Ollinger, MSN, RN

Senior Quality Improvement Facilitator, Telligen

Telligen and Oaknoll are proud to be on the forefront of this new, exciting program offered by the University of Iowa College of Nursing. 

Costs for the SIM-IA training vary based upon the number of days training is offered and the number of staff participating. For more information on SIM-IA and training opportunities, please visit sim-ia.uiowa.edu or email program director Brian Rechkemmer, brian-rechkemmer@uiowa.edu or senior advisor Jacinda Bunch, jacinda-bunch@uiowa.edu.

View more photos of Simulation in Motion-Iowa here

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Join Us: Telligen QI Connect™ is a network of partners working on healthcare quality improvement initiatives that are data-driven and locally-tailored to improve healthcare quality and outcomes by implementing and spreading evidence-based practices. Collaborate with over 6,000 partners, access on-demand trainings and resources and receive one-on-one techincal assistance all at no cost to you or your organization.

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