How to Choose the Right Manikins for Advanced Life Support Training

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death in the UK. According to statistics from the British Heart Foundation and the Department of Health, around 100,000 people die from SCA each year. While prevention in the form of healthy lifestyle habits like improved diet and exercise is crucial for reducing the number of these deaths, so is immediate life-saving intervention.

The Importance of Manikins in Advanced Life Support (ALS) Training

The ALS training teaches individuals how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation in a consistent manner. The training is designed for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who should be able to provide ALS care both in and out of the hospital. Those involved in ALS have to be very familiar with the human anatomy and have practical knowledge in performing ALS.

And this is where ALS manikins come in. An increasing body of data suggests that simulation-based learning can help trainees learn more effectively. The benefit of simulation is that it allows those in training to experience what it’s like to react to a real-life cardiac arrest situation without the risks involved.

This is especially critical for procedures that could be harmful or have a high risk of consequences. They can make mistakes in a safe atmosphere and learn from them before taking on the burden of caring for actual patients.

How to Choose ALS Manikins?

ALS teaching dummies are manufactured by a variety of companies. In terms of features, cost, and durability, each product differs from the others. That said, ALS course providers need to make sure they have the best supplies for the job so that their trainees can get the full experience of working in emergency situations. Here are some key things to consider when shopping for ALS training manikins.

The Difference Between Basic and Advanced Manikins

Basic CPR manikins are available to teach trainees how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Instructors teach pupils how to use this instrument and assist them in becoming professionals at applying chest compressions.

Advanced CPR manikins, on the other hand, come with more features. These manikins contain live monitoring or feedback devices for CPR that show accurate depth and rate chest compressions. Some of the advanced features you can expect in such a manikin are: 

  • a full body 
  • computer connectivity
  • intubation ability (insertion of tubes into windpipes)
  • airway management

Advanced CPR manikins are created with Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Advanced Life Support professionals in mind (ALS). They are also usually manufactured with human-like skin, giving the emergency scenario additional realism. A great example of an advanced model is the Simulaids full body ALS manikin.

The Target Group

Various resuscitation protocols apply to different patient populations from adults to babies, toddlers, the elderly and so on. The easiest way to replicate such scenarios is to utilise a manikin that closely resembles the patient group for which the training of ALS will eventually apply. There are family packs available that allow for training in all of the categories.

There are also manikins for obese patients, suffocation victims, burn victims and other situations that can lead to cardiac arrest.

Size and Weight

It’s a good idea to consider how you’ll transport the training materials. If the training manikins are to remain on the same site, this won’t be an issue. If you give training courses in a variety of places and with a number of manikins, however, you should consider using light-weight, portable manikins.

One common technique is to demonstrate with a larger manikin while entrusting the students with lighter torsos for practice. This will improve your training, make transportation easier, and enable your pupils to train with light torsos.

Lifelike Characteristics

Some manikins appear to be more lifelike than others. This might be an advantage in some situations, but remember, that human-like features are more expensive than portability.

Manikins that look lifelike usually have a variety of “skin” colours to pick from. They have realistic torsos and faces and are typically the same size as an adult, child, or infant. These manikins are usually more expensive and heavier than less lifelike manikins. Simulaids, Laerdal, and Life/form are some of the brands that make lifelike manikins.

Functionality

Examine the features, benefits, and contents of a simulator to ensure that it will aid in the teaching of the skills required by the learner. Instructors are experts on what a manikin should be able to achieve. Make sure you’re not overpaying for advanced features that you and your pupils will never use.

The KERi Complete from Nasco, for example, is a decent, basic manikin to teach how to place a catheter and get correct fluid return. The KERi Advanced has an IV and blood pressure training arm for students learning more extensive diagnostics and patient care. Another option is to buy the KERi Complete and a training arm separately, then spend the remaining funds on other training items.

A sophisticated manikin kit with a built-in heartbeat simulator is also available. These are mostly for professional usage, but they can be used in conjunction with an AED in some instances.

Feedback

The main aspect of CPR that is directly connected to survival after a sudden cardiac arrest is good chest compressions. Compression feedback manikins assist the instructor and pupils in staying on track and in the appropriate place. More lives are saved as a result of proper compression training, and compression feedback devices help to encourage good compression technique.

Price

Of course, everyone wishes they had unlimited funds to purchase the most up-to-date lifelike manikins, but the truth is that not every institution or course provider can afford the more expensive simulators. Fortunately, manufacturers like Laerdal, Nasco, Simulaids, Gaumard, and others offer a wide range of possibilities when it comes to selecting the right manikin for a simulation program.

When calculating the cost of a new manikin, keep the larger picture and the general course of the simulation training in mind. Is it really necessary to invest £50,000 in a high-fidelity manikin? Or would it be preferable to disperse that money across the whole programme and use it to meet other needs?

Also, keep in mind that the price of the ALS training manikins is only the beginning when it comes to cost. Training, installation, warranties, and servicing fees are all available options for some manikins. Whether these expenditures are one-time or recurring, they must be factored into the simulation budget.