More and more patient care is happening in the home, requiring active parent and family member education. Many times, patients seek to return home after treatment in a hospital, and family members are the caretakers. Effective pre-discharge education is key to effective in-home care.
Simulation education prior to discharge provides a solution to meet learning needs of family members faced with the fear of providing home care on a procedure they have never done before. When diabetic patients are sent home, for example, they need instruction on testing their blood sugar and giving themselves insulin injections. Family members may also need instruction on giving injections, as well as taking basic vital signs and changing central line dressings.
In a small study of parent care givers, teaching them how to care for central lines improved their knowledge and psychomotor skills. Infections from a central line in children with cancer can be life-threatening. Parents in this study practiced central-line care in a session with a life-sized (child or infant) high-fidelity simulator.
This study suggests that simulation, in addition to the usual discharge instructions, prepares parent and family care givers to effectively give vital care in the home.
Advantages of Using Simulation to Teach Home Care
Helps reduce infections: Practicing proper care techniques around wound treatment, injections, and central line care can reduce the rate of infection. In addition to patient care, caregiver protection instruction, such as handwashing and wearing gloves properly, prevents the transmission of germs.
Prevents emergency room visits and hospital readmissions: Reducing infections directly prevents unnecessary trips to the hospital. Recognizing the early signs of infection, such as discolored discharge and a raised temperature, leads to earlier intervention.
Increases confidence of healthcare providers: Practice eases the worry about doing harm. Learning techniques using a trainer or manikin can vastly boost muscle memory, and gives parents the confidence they need to effectively treat their children – or to treat any family member in home care.
Beth Telesz is the Corporate Nurse Educator for Pocket Nurse. Pocket Nurse products are for educational use only, not diagnostic or clinical use.