New simulation area lets patients, parents practice their new device

HERSHEY, Pa. -- Patients and parents of Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital patients can now practice PICC home care in a new patient education simulation area in the Children’s Hospital Resource Center.

A PICC - peripherally inserted central catheter – is a tube usually inserted in the upper arm into a vein to allow extended intravenous access for medicine delivery, blood draws, and other procedures.  Home care is important to avoid complications like infection.

The area was created jointly by Penn State Hershey Clinical Simulation Center and the Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council.

The idea came from a research study by the Simulation Center’s Chris Mulvey, research coordinator, Dr. Elizabeth Sinz, director, and Sally Rudy, nurse educator.

“We know that simulation works well for doctors and nurses, so we wondered if it could also help patients,” Mulvey said.  A study was developed which split patients with a PICC into three groups: receiving standard directions, receiving standard directions plus video instruction, and receiving standard directions, video instruction, and the opportunity to practice on a simulator called Chester Chest.

“The results showed that people felt more comfortable after using the simulator,” Mulvey said. “We thought that making Chester readily available in the Children’s Hospital would give patients and parents a place to practice before they have to care for their PICC line after discharge - a place to become comfortable with the devices.”

The initial research and the simulation area were funded by a grant from the Franklin H. and Ruth L. Wells Foundation.

At the simulation area, parents and patients can view a specially-created educational DVD featuring the Penn State Nittany Lion and showing proper PICC home care and cleaning procedures. It also explains what complications to look for and when to call a physician.

The DVD was created through the help of the Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council, whose members advised on the script. Family advisors shared their own experiences of learning care for a PICC line and provided suggestions of how to make the step-by-step instructions clearer and helpful to other patients and families.

“This PICC line video is a great example of how we embrace family-centered care at our Children’s Hospital,” said Debbi Fuhrer of the council and the hospital’s family-centered care coordinator. “We took the opportunity to partner with patients and families to create a quality resource. The Family Advisory Council provided input to ensure that the content and wording was clear and understandable and a real patient and family member even helped with the filming of the video.”

The video will also be available soon on the GetWellNetwork System, the interactive patient care system, so that patients and families can access it at any time during their stay in the hospital.

After watching the DVD, which will be given to the families to take home for additional viewing, patients and parents can practice flushing the line on the Chester Chest simulator.

“We hope this will be a bridge to other areas of patient education for home care,” said Sally Rudy, MSN RN-BC CHSE, simulation educator.

It is already being used for research in other procedures. Janet Shields, CRNP, surgical clinical nurse specialist, has been using the simulation center for research on central line care in children with short bowel syndrome. The study is a result of Shields’ doctoral education.

“My initial results decreased the incidence of central line infection in children at home on parenteral nutrition in the Pediatric Intestinal Rehabilitation Program by 85 percent,” Shields said.

According to Rudy, the simulation area might be used as an example of new knowledge and technology for Penn State Hershey’s upcoming Magnet re-designation.

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Last Updated August 28, 2014