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Helmsley Foundation Helps SD Healthcare



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Healthcare workers across South Dakota will soon be getting new high-tech equipment thanks to a multimillion dollar grant from the trust of late real estate baroness.  The goal is to improve the quality of patient care from the very first signs of problems, and health care system across the state are excited to get started.


There's a reason they're called first responders. Firefighters, E-M-T's, and paramedics are the first to arrive when someone calls 9-1-1. Throughout most of the state, those first responders are often volunteers and don't deal with trauma on a regular basis.


But thanks to a 5.6 million dollar grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, interactive patient simulator mannequins will help change that.  By providing the simulation training on a regular basis, they maintain their skills so that when they do encounter it, they know what to do, and they're not afraid," said Diana VandeWoude of Sanford Health.


"It will have a heart attack for you, and it will, it speaks, so you can actually interact with it very much like a human being," said Daryl Thuringer, director of marketing for Avera Health.


The money will be used to buy three mobile units, equipped with four different mannequins and classroom space, that will travel the state. First responders and health care workers will go through several training sessions over the next three years, often tailored to the needs of the area.  The mannequins record both audio and video from the simulation, so when it's over, they'll go over what happened.


"They can see what they've done and how they can improve their skills and, over time, what happens is, then that translates to actual practice in the field," said VandeWoude.


Healthcare providers hope that the technology will improve patient care overall, starting from the very beginning.  They say the donation from the Helmsley Trust allows South Dakota to become a leader in patient care.


"This is, it's really a wonderful opportunity for the people of South Dakota," said Thuringer.


"We have the capacity, I think, to truly innovate in this area," said VandeWoude.

St. Mary's Healthcare Center in Pierre and Mobridge Regional Hospital will alos be purchsing two smaller scale movile simulation labs with the grant money.

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