CareFlight’s unique MediSim program was developed in 2011 to deliver specialist trauma care training to emergency services personnel in rural and remote communities.
Volunteers learn from highly experienced professional emergency specialists including doctors, nurses and intensive care paramedics.
Life-like mannequins and a unique car crash rescue simulator aid in the recreation of a high pressure environment, ensuring the training is realistic.
Thanks to support from the community, CareFlight is able to provide this training at no cost to these dedicated community members who give their own time and effort to support their local region.
Why CareFlight developed MediSim
In Australia, health resources are stretched in rural and remote areas. Often the first people to arrive at the scene of a trauma incident will be the local teacher, farmer, mechanic or other community member who is part of a volunteer emergency response team. These ‘first responders’ can then wait anything from a few minutes to many hours until professional medical help arrives.
It is in these situations that the emergency service first responders need to know how to sustain a life. Appropriate treatment during this time significantly improves the final outcome of the patient. Indeed, their actions can mean the difference between life and death.
CareFlight teaches them how to do this.
Emergency services personnel are already trained in first aid or can apply advanced resuscitation techniques. CareFlight’s MediSim program builds upon that training, adding confidence and skills that may significantly enhance the long-term outcome of trauma patients.
“Every volunteer who trains with us has the opportunity to learn from highly experienced emergency medical clinicians,” CareFlight MediSim program coordinator Colin Brown said.
“The training directly benefits the community, the patient, the emergency service volunteers and the health system. It helps the volunteers to better respond in trauma situations.”
The mannequins and crash car simulator used to create realistic scenarios give participants the opportunity to practise in a safe and controlled environment.
Since MediSim was launched in 2011, over 2,900 emergency service volunteers have been trained.
More than 190 courses have been conducted throughout NSW, WA, SA, Victoria, Tasmania and the NT.
The CareFlight MediSim program has had an enormously positive impact on the communities visited. Feedback from participants has indicated that many have used the skills they acquired during the workshops to better manage a patient until professional medical help arrived.
Taking the program out to high need areas means community members don’t have to leave their home towns to participate in trauma training. This, together with the fact that training is provided at no cost to the participants or their agencies, eases both the financial and time burden on their local communities.
The CareFlight MediSim program has become a vital cog in the training programs of emergency services across Australia. Thanks to ongoing support from the community, CareFlight will continue to bring this program to the communities who need it most.
2015 saw a wonderful diversity of participants from around Australia, including:
- volunteer first responders from rural fire services, St John and other emergency services
- professional first responders from police and fire services
- park rangers from National Parks & Wildlife
- nurses from remote clinics, regional towns and hospitals
- doctors, junior doctors, registrars and medical students
- remote staff from cattle stations, tourism and IT
- helicopter pilots
In 2016, the program will have trained hundreds more participants over 43 workshops across Australia.
In February, the workshops kicked off in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney before heading up to the Central Coast, Hunter region and Central West of NSW.
We then took the program to the more remote parts of Australia, starting at Uluru and going through Alice Springs, Daly Waters, Kakadu and north NT. We trained parks rangers along with emergency services, as both these groups can find themselves covering vast areas.
The program travelled next to NSW, followed by South Australia, West Australia and Victoria.
MediSim then completed workshops in NSW before our final tour of the year in Tasmania.
Thanks for your support
Thank you to all the agencies that support this program so it can be delivered at no cost to participants. Thanks also to all those people who give up their time to improve their trauma skills to help their communities.
Life can change in an instant – a car crash, a heart attack, a fall, a sports injury. From that moment, every second counts. Not only in the race to save a life, but also in the race to save quality of life. And this is at the heart of what CareFlight does. In the race against time, when critically ill and injured people need to get to a hospital, CareFlight is bringing the tools and confidence to those who are first on scene.
Feedback from past participants
Emergency service managers are always keen to write to CareFlight and let us know what their members think of the training.
“On behalf of my team of volunteers, I would like to extend my gratitude and thanks for taking the time to and including the NSW VRA as part of the MediSim training with CarefFight,” said VRA Commissioner Mark Gibson. “It makes me proud when our volunteers ring to say how much they appreciated being invited to this training but to also state what great benefit and skills they acquired with the training.”
In the Northern Territory, due to the long distances involved, emergency service first responders can be with a patient for hours before professional medical help arrives. MediSim is seen as a crucial link in the training chain through the Top End.
“Our partnership with Careflight MediSim has been a major advancement in training volunteers and staff members in remote and urban fringe centres of the Territory. They train in realistic scenarios that teach firsthand the mechanisms of injury and the subsequent management of the casualty,” said Northern Territory Chief Fire Officer, Steve Rothwell. “Our volunteers express a confidence and an enhanced knowledge through this realistic training conducted by recognised experts under the MediSim concept. Taking this training to the volunteers, and using realistic props, has been a real winner in providing a better service to those in time of need.”