How to choose the right training manikin

Are you looking for a new resuscitation manikin? There’s a lot of choice. Between the various brands there are differences in material quality, hygienic precautions and user convenience.

AEDexpert, by explaining the choices, makes it easier for you to choose the resuscitation manikin best suited to your organization.

All of these items allow you to make a selection per category and so refine the search to meet your requirements (illustration of navigation levels).

  • 1 -Target group and composition

Are you looking for a resuscitation manikin that will simulate an adult, a child, or a baby. For these patient groups various resuscitation protocols apply.
The best way to simulate the different situations  is to use a manikin that matches the patient group for which you are provide training.

There are also specific manikins for, for example, obese patients, dragging exercises and suffocation.

It’s also worth thinking about how you will transport the training materials. This won’t matter if the training manikins are to remain on the same site. If however you provide training courses at various locations and with several manikins, you should consider light-weight manikins that are easy to transport. A solution that is often used is to demonstrate with a heavier manikin while entrusting the students with lighter torso’s for practice purposes. This will optimize your training, simplify transport and also allow your students to train with light torso’s. There are also convenient family-packs enabling training in each of the categories.

  • 2 -Materials and true-to-life features

What distinguishes an advanced from a basic manikin is the material and the internal structure. These features, by heightening the sense of realism, will influence to a major extent how the student experiences the training. While all manikins provide chest and airway resistance, you can be sure that a manikin with a sprung interior will have a more realistic feel to it.

Resuscitation manikins, regardless of price,  all have a sternum, while some also have a stomach that will inflate when respiration is not properly applied.

Hard plastic resuscitation manikins are less resistant to wear than manikins with a metal inner frame with rubber or soft plastic/pvc. Advances resuscitation manikins provide you with many possibilities for replacing broken parts. With a basic manikin you will have to replace the complete manikin when a part wears out.

  • 3 -Hygiene

All resuscitation manikins feature precautions designed to prevent the spread of infection. The lungbags should for this reason be replaced regularly. Each manufacturer has its own approach but the most common method is a lungbag that causes the ribcage to rise during respiration. The lungbag should in principle be replaced as a matter of hygiene after every course or even after each student. In practise this is rarely done.  Replacing lungbags takes up time and entails extra costs. Usually the skin around the mouth and nose will be disinfected and the next student can then continue.

In addition to the lungbags a hygienic barrier, such as a kiss of life, is sometimes employed. This is a plastic cloth with a filter through which the air can be blown. This doesn’t cost much and is easy to change. Please take a look in the category, hygiene and respiration for more precautions.

Face masks of soft-skin manikins  must be changed regularly. Frequent disinfection and cleaning damages the rubber over time and causes it to become brittle. That is detrimental to proper hygiene. Watch out for damaged material and replace in good time.  With the exception of the contact surfaces the manikin and skin can be cleaned with a household cleaner in warm water. Any electrode adhesive left after training can also be removed from the skin with a soap solution and a soft sponge.

  • 4 -Measurement options and feedback

Resuscitation guidelines are now devoting steadily more attention to the importance of feedback during the training of those providing resuscitation. We now know the correct depth of compression, the correct amount of air to supply and other key indicators of good CPR and we no longer have to just make an estimate. The manikin with peripherals and perhaps software can play a key role. However, most resuscitation manikins still fall into the category stand-alone manikins, that is with no communication with the PC. In some cases nevertheless  there is some degree of feedback such as a clicker that gives an audible tap at the correct compression depth or a strip of light that gives the green signal at the proper depth and / or compression rate.

You will increase the possibilities for measurement, feedback and administration by connecting your manikin to the PC. This option however will limit you to two brands: Ambu and Laerdal. Currently Laerdal  has the most advanced equipment with feedback in the range QCPR manikins. These can be attached to the current software on the PC or to a simpad tablet. Ambu has the AmbuMan W (Next Generation) which can be connected to the PC. The Ambu software is somewhat outdated and we are awaiting for some innovations that they have announced.

Resuscitation manikins with feedback are useful for improving skills, but it can be useful to switch off the feedback and train purely on feel. Is the student then able to continue to perform correctly without external assistance? Shielding or disabling the measurements allows the student to train blind.

  • 5 -Procedures

Basic features of manikins for training skills that are necessary for basic life support (BLS) include chin lift, ventilation, chest compression, elevation of the thorax, palpable pulse and stomach ventilation. The basic manikins offer a few of these functionalities.  Advanced manikins possess all of them.

Are you interested in intubation or other advanced life support training exercises?  Please then select a manikin with extra features such as the intubation head. There are also sophisticated manikins with a built-in heartbeat simulator. These are intended primarily for professional users, but may in some cases also be applied in combination with an AED.

Arms and legs can make training more realistic. See whether your manikin can be extended to include them? It could be beneficial to order these at the same time as the manikin.

  • 6 -Price differences

There are substantial price differences in the purchasing costs of  resuscitation manikins.  You also have to take into account additional costs during use, such as the replacement of lungbags and face masks.

When you purchase a manikin and you want to use the PC please then take into account, especially in the case of Laerdal,  additional costs such as a software package or simpad? You will not have to incur this extra expense for subsequent purchases of manikins.

In order to maintain accurate measurement of the resuscitation depth and air ventilation the Ambu manikins will have to be calibrated. In addition, all moving parts of the manikin will require the attention of a mechanic to maintain them. Check with customer service for the costs for manikin maintenance service.