Medical students at the University of Lublin in Poland are learning how to provide expert patient care with empathy using Simulation Suits. Ludwika Wodyk is part of the group of medical students that were given the chance to experience what it feels to be a patient. She wore special goggles as she fumbled her way down the stairs and her movement slowed by tight and heavy strapping around her body.
The special suit places strain on their hand muscles, limbs, and the bones of the spine that restricted their movement. Vision goggles impaired the vision of the students by about 20%.
The simulation suit has been imported from Japan where it is regularly used to give medical students an insight into how patients feel when afflicted by debilitating diseases. However, the use of this equipment in Europe remains minimal.
According to Wodyk, the equipment would allow her to become more aware of the needs of the ageing patient population in the future. For instance, she would know precisely how they are feeling if they complain about pain in the limbs, have difficulty in moving around, or their vision.
As Europe’s population ages, doctors are becoming increasingly aware of the need to attend to the special requirements of elderly patients. The simulation suit will greatly help the doctors put the needs of the patients first.
According to Sylwia Korzeniowska, a sixth-year medical student at the University, the most important thing in treating an elderly patient is to get them to cooperate with the doctors by gaining their trust. If the doctors are able to feel exactly how the patients feel, it would eliminate the biggest obstacle between elderly patients and doctors. The doctors will more easily gain the patient’s trust and provide assurance to the patients. This will greatly aid in the diagnosis and treatment of the patients.
The students are expected to receive additional training at the Medical Simulation center. Everything simulated at the center is similar to a real hospital. The patients are mannequins with which students can practice treating a real individual. Everything during the simulation training is monitored by the lecturers and recorded using a video camera for later analysis and review.
Professor Kamil Torres of the university explained that the main goal of the simulation training was to provide exemplary patient care by considering their feelings and adding the human element to the treatment. The patient is the most valuable person for any doctor. The technological tools and equipment will help healthcare professionals including doctors and nurses in providing the best care to their patients.
By offering students the opportunity to feel how the patient feels they will be more appreciative of the pain felt by their patients. It will also ensure that they do not make mistakes in diagnosing and providing treatment to elderly patients. The simulation system will fully prepare the medical students before they become real medical practitioners to ensure that they don’t commit diagnostic errors in with real patients that could have deadly consequences.