Teamwork in Covid-19 Zone

A new video offering practical strategies to medical teams as they adapt to working in restrictive Level 3 PPE has been released today by the University of Warwick and the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.

The video is believed to be the first resource of its type and draws on empirical research between Sociolinguistics and Emergency Medicine studying the negotiation of leadership and teamwork in trauma settings.

Although the project is ongoing, the short animation and a poster have been released now to highlight some of the successful communication strategies that have been observed, and share them as widely as possible to help other teams who face the same challenges.

Since the emergence of Covid-19, healthcare staff have been required to wear FFP3 PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in the resuscitation of the sickest patients. This includes wearing a full facemask, eye protection, gloves and surgical gown as an essential part of protecting themselves, colleagues and patients. PPE creates a physical barrier which restricts body movement, hearing, lip reading and peripheral vision. These sensory limitations have changed the way medical teams work and engage with colleagues and patients.

Professor Jo Angouri, a Sociolinguist and expert in interaction analysis at the University of Warwick, and Dr Chris Turner, a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, led the observation of 24 multidisciplinary team scenarios as the medical staff worked through simulated trauma emergencies.

They have explored how Level 3 PPE impacted communication and the compensation strategies teams use to share information with each other to achieve good clinical results.

Their aim is to help multidisciplinary teams handling COVID-19 cases or any other conditions requiring FFP3 PPE through the development of training materials and national policy.

The successful strategies identified during the simulations include:

  • Use of visual cues

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