March 15, 2021

Code Red and Code Black simulations in South East Building

Two simulations, Code Red and Code Grey/Black, were held in the South East Building at Northern Hospital Epping last week. These simulations are aimed at providing staff the opportunity to simulate potential real life incidents that they may face in a new environment. The simulations also involved our partners – emergency services, Fire Rescue Victoria and Victoria Police, working together to provide a safer environment for our colleagues, patients and visitors.

Jason Amos, Manager, Emergency Management, explained staff are able to put into practice the skills that they are taught as part of their orientation training to their new workspace.

“Thankfully, evacuation of patients is rarely undertaken in Australian hospitals, but it’s important for staff to have confidence that, should we ever need to, they are prepared and know how to safely evacuate patients. The simulations are designed to provide a safe learning experience where we can ensure our procedures are effective, and they are never a test of how the staff perform,” he explained.

The Code Red and Code Orange simulations involved the evacuation of three patients – one ambulant, one non-ambulant bariatric and one non-ambulant patient. Staff had to assess the situation, nominate a safe evacuation plan and facilitate the evacuation of these patients. Staff were also required to evacuate one of the patients via the Albac evacuation mat down a flight of stairs safely. The involvement of Fire Rescue Victoria also allowed an opportunity for both organisations to understand each other’s role in dealing with a Code Red and how we can support each other.

The following day, the Code Grey/Black simulation involved a simulated aggressive patient whose behaviour escalated, initially requiring a Code Grey response, before escalating to a Code Black. This simulation allowed staff to recognise increasing aggressive behaviour and respond to a Code Grey while trying to deescalate the situation, before identifying the need to escalate to a Code Black when the patient was able to locate and use a oxygen cylinder as a weapon.

“A really important part of this simulation was for staff to identify that equipment we use every day, but is often not stored away appropriately, can be used as a weapon by a patient. This can include something as simple as patient folders, to other equipment such as IV poles, wheelchairs, infusion pumps and oxygen cylinders. Victoria Police were also on site, to participate and provide feedback on dealing with aggressive patients,” Jason added.

“The simulation team were really proud of our nursing staff who participated. We witnessed a strong understanding of Code procedures and their ability to remain calm and follow instructions,” he added.

Tracey Martin, Project Manager, explained both of the simulations were extremely successful, and a lot of background work has gone into planning and organising, including coordinating the attendance from Fire Rescue Victoria and Victoria Police.

“The Organisational Simulation Project Leads, Dr Nancy Sadka and Dr Keith Amarakone, along with the assistance and commitment to the project from Elise Sutton and Jason Amos, have done a fantastic job these past few weeks in helping our staff not only familiarise themselves to new working spaces, but also to test our emergency responses to ensure our existing systems are supported and effective in the new building. While generally most of the simulations have utilised our simulation manikins, the Code Grey/Black simulation could not have been completed as realistically without the volunteering from our very own – Ariana Carrodus – who provided an award-winning performance as the aggressive patient,” she said.

Dr Sadka added: “These simulations support the staff who will be working in the new wards to test the hospital response systems, identify areas of risk for improvement, and practice together in a safe environment. The staff engagement in these simulations and their feedback identifying areas of improvement have been great.”

Darren Conlin, Asst. Chief Fire Officer, Northern District said: “Days like today are fantastic opportunities for Fire Rescue Victoria and Northern Hospital to work in collaboration in a practical sense to enhance the safety of the community, staff and responders alike.”

The Simulation team are in the process of undertaking a number of simulations to assist staff as they begin to transition into their new wards. This has included MET call response, Code Blue, ward rounds and patient flow, Code Grey, Code Pink, Code Red and Code Black. Additional simulations are planned in the new theatres, ground floor and wards in the South East Block.

Please see more simulation photos below.

Code Red:

Code Grey/Black: