The feasibility and use of simulation to assess parent learning

Project Background

Children dependent upon long term mechanical ventilation post discharge from an acute care center are at high risk for readmissions, morbidity, and mortality directly related to the care they receive in the home environment. Parents are inadequately prepared to provide the level of care needed in the home setting prior to their child’s discharge home.

Project Purpose

The primary goal of the PAWS (Parental Airway Assessment with Simulation) program was to assess parent learning and confidence to manage these children in the home setting post discharge using simulation.

Project Methods

The Simulation Model for Improved Learner and Health Outcomes (SMILHO) framed this assessment program’s development, implementation, and evaluation which focused on airway management using an on-site simulation-based assessment focused on observation and evaluation of parental clinical skills. This program implemented a multi-step simulation based assessment intervention over a 6-8-week period.

Project Outcomes

Post program completion, parents had a demonstrated 22% increase in self-reported confidence in caring for their child following discharge using an administered pre-post Family Assessment Survey. At the conclusion of the program parents demonstrated improvement in clinical skills with a significant increase across all four tracheostomy skill assessments.

Project Implications

This feasibility study identified that parent discharge education, in the setting of high risk pediatric patients, can be effectively assessed using simulation overtime to evaluate parent skills. Debriefing can support parent education and improve overall parent confidence in providing quality, evidence driven care.


Michelle Whalen

Graduation Date

December, 2017


parent education