Introduction. Home ventilator programs (HVP) have been developed to train parents of critically ill children. Simulators are used in health care, but not often for parents. We added simulation to our HVP and assessed parents' response. Methods. In July 2008, the HVP at Children's of Alabama added simulation to parent training. Debriefing was provided after the training session to reinforce correct skills and critical thinking. Follow-up surveys were completed after training. Results. Fifteen families participated. All parents were confident in changing tracheostomies, knowing signs of breathing difficulties, and responding to alarms. 71% strongly agree that simulation resulted in feeling better prepared to care for their child. 86% felt simulation improved their confidence in taking care of their child. Conclusion. Simulators provide a crucial transition between learned skills and application. This novel use of simulation-based education improves parents' confidence in emergencies and may lead to shortened training resulting in cost savings.
Keywords: education; emergencies; home ventilator; parents; pediatric; simulation.