Background In an effort to improve on the skin covers currently available for simulated venipuncture/cannulation pads, we developed a silicone based “homemade skin” which addressed limitations in durability, fidelity and cost. These “homemade skin” covers are currently in use in our simulation centre and can be used for venipuncture and cannulation training and manikin based simulation.
Methodology To compare the DIY alternative with its commercial counterpart, the pad covers were assessed for resilience to multiple needle stabs (n = 100), durability against adhesive materials and alcohol and realism or fidelity. In addition, an objective comparison of both was performed using a validated tool – the Simulator Value Index (SVI). The SVI can be used to compare 2 simulators across 16 domains, each of which are weighted.
Results The “homemade skin” is cheaper (14.74 euro V 57.05 euro). It is also comparable to the currently available alternatives in realism, required maintenance and durability. Adhesives such as bandaids and cannula dressings were easier to remove and did not damage the skin. The skin resisted staining from the artificial blood in the veins, wiped clean and was self sealing post needle puncture. The skin was easy to store. When compared using the SVI, the homemade skin cover scored +5 and the commercially available cover scored −5.
Conclusions and recommendations This DIY skin product is cheap and easy to make and it performed very well when tested for durability and resilience and when using the SVI. The cost savings from using this product in our centre is estimated at approximately 1,500 euro per year.
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