Background: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy is proven to be efficient in a selected critically ill patient population and is showing promising results in refractory hypoxemia in the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, it necessitates specialized clinicians and advanced technological resources. While COVID-19 is an ongoing global emergency, there is no evidence-based practice in preparedness. This article proposes an innovative and optimized nursing care protocol, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), that increase safety, and prevents overuse of personal protective equipment (PPE) without interfering with therapy during ECMO in COVID-19 patients.
Methods: A high-fidelity simulation scenario was developed. It included practicing safe and proper PPE donning and doffing during work organization, ECMO cannulation and ECMO-related procedures, and routine daily nursing care and management of patients on ECMO over nine hours.
Results: Results were collected in three parts – proposal of nursing standardized operating procedures. They provide including work organization, work load references, competences and infrastructural conditions. Additionally, the cannulation equipment checklist proposal and daily routine nursing algorithm with other procedures during extracorporeal support were created.
Conclusions: High-fidelity medical simulation can play an important role in staff training, improvement in previously gained proficiency, and development of optimal SOP for nursing care and management during ECMO in patients with COVID-19. Optimal SOPs may further guide multidisciplinary teams including intensive care units and interventional departments.