Blindfolded training is a success

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A recent study has found that doctors who wore blindfolds during simulation training improved their leadership skills more than those who didn’t – an outcome which looks to be a promising tool for improving training and outcomes in paediatric resuscitation.

A study published in Frontiers in Pediatrics revealed that over the course of three resuscitation scenarios, paediatric team leaders who wore a blindfold improved their leadership skills ratings by 11 per cent compared to five per cent for non-blindfolded leaders.

“Our study suggests that blindfolding the leader during paediatric resuscitation simulation sessions might improve leadership skills training,” says lead author Dr Michael Buyck of the Geneva University Children’s Hospital, Switzerland.

Simulation training is being increasingly used to prepare medics for paediatric cardiac arrests and other medical emergencies following the revelation that 50 per cent of resident doctors said that ‘they feel inadequately trained to lead cardiac arrest teams in an internal medicine study’, and as Dr Buyck adds, ‘paediatric residents receive even less exposure to resuscitation attempts than the average’.

Although some studies have already evaluated the effect of blindfolding the leader, it had not yet been done in a randomised controlled environment such as this. Twelve teams, all randomly assigned to either the blindfold or controlled group, participated in one session of five simulation-based resuscitation scenarios. Leadership score, which did not differ significantly between the two groups after simulation one, rose significantly more in the blindfold group than the control group at the end of the simulation five: 11.4 per cent versus 5.4 per cent. The report added that ‘there was no increase in stress or decrease in satisfaction in the blindfolded group’.

“Having a blindfolded leader requires other team members to verbalise all the important data and explicitly acknowledge instructions. Indeed, comparing simulation five with simulation one we found that teams who trained with a blindfolded leader became more likely than controls to respond to instructions with audible confirmation of receipt and completion of the task,” the report stated. “Blindfolding might also improve leadership skills by helping the leader to avoid distraction by irrelevant details or participation in procedures, such as chest compressions.”

Dr Buyck noted: “Doctors rely heavily on simulation training to prepare for rare emergencies, so even a modest improvement like this might help save lives. Future studies should further assess the impact of blindfolded training at long-term follow-up sessions, and on clinical outcomes after paediatric resuscitation.”

Read the original report here.

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