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Australian first helping doctors help Perth kids

22 November, 2019

Paediatric experts at Perth Children’s Hospital now have a new state of the art training set-up to practise how to respond when a sick infant faces a life-threatening crisis, thanks to funding from Perth Airport.

In an Australian first, the hospital has taken possession of NENA – a high-tech, life-like 
mannequin for healthcare teams to test their skills in neonatal and early infant emergency training scenarios.

NENA has been made available through a $125,000 donation by Perth Airport to the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation.

General Paediatrics Consultant Dr Ellen Taylor said everything about the mannequin was designed to make the training experience as life-like and demanding as possible – including unseen complications.

“Caring for sick infants is demanding and often stressful for all of the team – so that’s what we need to replicate in simulated clinical scenarios,” Dr Taylor said.

“NenaSim is one of the most realistic infant mannequins available. He’s tetherless, meaning that he isn’t connected to cords, which makes training even more realistic.

“We expect that healthcare goes smoothly but there is always the risk of complications, so we need to practice how we would respond if things don’t go strictly as planned.

“Our previous infant mannequin looked like a doll. NenaSim looks real. One of his unique functions is to portray respiratory difficulties, which is the most common cause of collapse in children. He has a realistic skin tone and changes colour.

“As NENA is virtually realistic, his chest rises and his colour changes in her face, hands and feet.

“The mannequin also moves its arms and legs and can mimic seizures so it will challenge the team and they will need to treat NENA in the same way that they would treat a child.

“This will help the team to practice how they would respond in a real-life crisis.”

The funding for NENA came from the proceeds of the regular Surrendered and Lost Property Items auctions held by Perth Airport. Perth Airport CEO Kevin Brown said he was convinced NENA will potentially help save young lives.

“No parent wants to see their child faced with these challenges at such a young age but we are lucky we have such amazing people at Perth Children’s Hospital,” Mr Brown said.

“This investment just pushes the odds that little bit more in favour of the child by providing doctors and their teams with the chance to train and practice their skills in a controlled, safe

“We’ve worked with the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation for the past decade because we know the support we provide can both save and change lives.

“Every parent in Western Australia should be confident that the amazing team at PCH have the best available resources to help their child if they fall ill.”

The Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation said NENA will help improve the health care of WA’s sick kids.

“Perth Airport is a long-standing supporter of the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation. Their passion for helping to transform the health care of WA’s sick kids is at the heart of their generous support that sees the Perth Children’s Hospital now able to add state of the art training technology to the critically important simulation training facilities at the Hospital,” PCHF CEO Carrick Robinson said.

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