PHSA’s Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) recently deployed to the BC interior to hold clinical education sessions, including disaster medicine, and their first operating room simulation practice.
As a hospital on wheels, the MMU makes planned deployments to each health region in B.C. every year. “The purpose of planned visits is to provide hospital staff with opportunities to work in the MMU and to plan logistics for setting up if needed for emergency clinical deployments. Doing both helps staff become more familiar with the MMU, and it helps us accomplish our goal of building capacity,” says Peter Hennecke, clinical operations director, BC MMU.
On September 10, the MMU team welcomed Interior Health clinicians, BC Emergency Health paramedics and members of the Grand Forks community to a tour of the MMU trailers.
Following the tour, the trailer served as a classroom for Boundary District Hospital staff led by Dr. Erin Fukushima, an Emergency Department physician at BC Children’s Hospital and VGH, and MMU associate medical director. Dr. Fukushima presented a session on pediatric airway management to 21 participants, including physicians, nurses, clinical students, and paramedics. “This was a great opportunity to enhance our knowledge and increase our comfort level with procedures and clinical equipment,” said one of the session participants.
The following day, Dr. Michael Flesher, medical director, MMU, led a day-long simulated lab course on applied disaster medicine in the MMU trailer. The course included topics such as disaster triage, incident command, hands-on clinical care of simulated patients, and setting up an incident command post within the hospital.
In the afternoon, a mock code orange simulation with MMU staff, Dr. Flesher and Jesse Sheridan, MMU clinical educator, provided 40 participants with hands on disaster medicine training. “We were thrilled to participate in the code orange training and really appreciate the opportunity,” said AJ Brekke, network director, Emergency and Trauma Services, Interior Health.
“The staff participation was amazing, thanks to the on-the-spot learning provided by the MMU!” said Karen Heric, RN MA, manager, Acute Services, Boundary District Hospital.
The MMU unit rolled into Nelson and welcomed local clinicians and members of the community in an open house at the Nelson Tourism Centre on September 13.
Thanks to the support of the Interior Health Simulation Centre, the MMU team brought simulation practice to Kootenay Lake Hospital operating rooms. Practising with high-fidelity mannequins (that simulate real-life scenarios) within their operating rooms provided essential feedback to participants in real time. This was the first time the MMU program utilized the operating room space for enhanced realism and practice.
On September 14, the MMU held two half-day sessions on disaster response with Interior Health clinicians. The sessions included review and practice of intraosseous access (injecting directly into the marrow of a bone), airway management and trauma simulation. Thalia Vesterback, Acute Health Service director, Interior Health, said, “It was a great team building and networking opportunity; it’s so beneficial to have this provincial resource. Please come again!”
In addition to being a resource in the event of a natural disaster, emergency or temporary back up to a BC health care facility, education is a major component of the MMU program. As a shared resource among the regional health authorities, the MMU makes planned deployments to each health region in BC every year to provide opportunities for education and planning.
The MMU has deployed to over 60 sites across the province for various support missions, including public health outreach, capital renovation, medical surge, emergency and disaster, and clinical medical education. For a comprehensive list of all MMU deployments, visit the deployments page
on the MMU website.
For more information on the MMU program, visit bcmmu.ca
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