Rice Health Foundation and Ridgewater College Team Up to Help Save Lives

Code Blue Team Leadership TrainingYou feel pain in your left arm, the sensation of pressure on your chest, and shortness of breath.  You are having a heart attack.  You are “code blue” to the emergency medical personnel who are on their way to treat you – to save your life.

Heart attacks are the number one cause of premature death in America, and 44.2 percent of Kandiyohi County residents are age 45 and older – an age where risk of heart attacks begins to rise significantly.  We are indeed blessed to have well trained and dedicated emergency medical personnel in our region.

Now, in partnership with Ridgewater College, 200 healthcare professionals in Kandiyohi County are taking their training in cardiac care to the next level.

Thanks to $24,000 grant from the Rice Health Foundation, Ridgewater is delivering its Code Blue Team Leadership training to the Rice Hospital system in Kandiyohi County. Ridgewater Customized Training and Continuing Education has been delivering the CBTL training to healthcare personnel for three years, but this is a first-of-its-kind pilot project that will document the results of a system-wide cardiac care training initiative.

Participating in the training will be Rice Hospital Emergency staff, Atwater Fire and Ambulance, New London Ambulance, Raymond Ambulance, Sunburg Ambulance, Willmar Ambulance, Bethesda Pleasantview, and Rice Care Center.

Code Blue Team Leadership uses a high fidelity simulation manikin to create a life-like cardiac event scenario, allowing health care providers the opportunity to practice, identify, record and evaluate each process, procedure, obstacle, and challenge that they may encounter while treating a cardiac event patient.

“It’s facilitated self-discovery,” notes Ron Flannigan, Ridgewater Code Blue Team Leadership instructor. “We help design a functional work space for each person on the team by eliminating physical and procedural obstacles, thereby helping each person on the team achieve ‘perfection’ per benchmarks established by the American Heart Association.”

The project will deliver thirty-eight 2-hour training sessions, beginning with a mock 911 call, and will involve a complete “full through” cardiac patient session from the patient’s residence to the Basic Life Support ambulance, to the Advanced Life Support ambulance, to the hospital, and finally to the rehab center.  Each step and exchange will be observed, critiqued, and repeated with procedural and process adjustments implemented for each department and individual.  The facilitated adjustments that improve efficiency and effectiveness will be replicated in subsequent sessions.

What is the significance of all this?  Initial results of CBTL training have shown significant improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of cardiac life support providers measured against benchmarks established by the AHA.  In fact, the stated goals of the project include potentially saving lives and impacting cardiac survival outcomes in our area by 20%, and greatly improving the quality of life for those surviving cardiac episodes. The bottom line – lives are being saved.

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