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New DVD trains health care workers to provide respiratory care during disasters

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a DVD titled Cross Training Respiratory Extenders for Medical Emergencies (Project XTREME) to train health care professionals who are not respiratory care specialists to provide basic respiratory care and ventilator management to adult patients in any mass casualty event.

Among the possible emergencies when such auxiliary clinical help may be necessary are an influenza pandemic, a bioterrorist attack involving anthrax or other agents, or an outbreak of severe acute respiratory illnesses. Principal target groups for the training are physicians, physician assistants, and nurses.

The DVD includes six training modules with interactive quizzes to test viewers' knowledge. The modules cover infection control, respiratory care terms and definitions, manual ventilation (using hand-held bags), mechanical ventilation (using the two types of ventilators included in the Federal government's Strategic National Stockpile of medicines and medical supplies for emergencies), airway maintenance, and airway suctioning.

The DVD was produced for AHRQ by a team of respiratory care specialists at the Denver Health Medical Center led by Michael Hanley, M.D., as part of Project XTREME. A related report also funded by AHRQ, Project XTREME: Model for Health Professionals' Cross-Training for Mass Casualty Respiratory Needs, provides further information on the training model as well as the research and methodologies used in developing it. A free, single copy of the DVD and a CD-ROM with the report (AHRQ Publication No. 07-0017) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Editor's Note: AHRQ has funded more than 60 emergency preparedness-related studies, workshops, and conferences to help hospitals and health care systems prepare for public health emergencies. More information about these projects can be found online at

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