The DIY manikin research network: What do we do, and why?

Thursday, 06.10.2022

Reading time 5 mins

In the coming years, our researchers want to get to the bottom of the DIY manikin idea: We will figure out what the benefits and caveats are of learning CPR with DIY manikins, and how the different models are best used in practice.

Hello, I am Tina and I am a researcher and lecturer in skill acquisition – that is, I normally investigate how a person progresses from doing something for the first time, to being an expert at it. I am specifically interested in skills that are important for survival, such as water safety skills, rescue and first aid. I believe that how these skills are instructed should not just be left to chance: It should be informed by rigorous research on one side, the opinion of experts on the other side, and on the needs of the individual or community that is at the center – in short, it should be founded on the three pillars of evidence-based practice.

I have collected a team of researchers in a wide range of fields who share this passion with me. In the coming years, we hope to establish an evidence-base for the DIY manikin idea. We want to get to the bottom of what the benefits, and potential caveats, are that relate to learning CPR with DIY manikins, and how they are best used.

From top left to bottom right: Joost Bierens (Netherlands), Saul Drajer, (Argentina), Robert Ohle (Canada), Catarina Queiroga (Portugal), Emily Oliver (UK), David Lockey (UK), Egil Galaaen Gjolme (Norway), David Szpilman (Brazil), Tina van Duijn (New Zealand), Veerle van Raemdonck (Belgium), Chris Boase (Australia), Kristine de Martelaer (Belgium), Jeffrey Pellegrino (Ohio, U.S.), Roberto Barcala-Furelos (Spain), Naomi Nakagawa (Brazil), Wouter Cools (Belgium), Shota Tanaka (Japan)

There are already a few studies out there that have tested the effect of using a DIY manikin on the learner’s progress, performance and confidence (see papers listed below). In summary, the motor skill of performing compressions alone is learnt to mixed extents by practicing with DIY-manikins. There is some evidence that DIY versions are not inferior to traditional manikins in conveying the simple, mechanical skill of compressions. Compression rate was learnt consistently in all studies (even by children), whereas depth, recoil and compression location varied with different manikin models. Clearly, we don’t yet know enough about other elements, such as how realistic a manikin needs to be, or about how it may affect the learners’ confidence to act in an emergency.

The broad range of findings also suggests that it may be best to develop ideas and prototypes within different communities to tailor to needs and resources of that community. In the sense of “change is the only constant”, it could be feasible to make the details adaptable so people can make an informed decision what to use, and how.

The experts in our team have also noticed how diverse the potential end-users of DIY manikins are, and so are their needs and situational characteristics: the materials that are available, the cultural beliefs and convictions, the age, education level and socio-economic status, and many other factors are likely to differ between target groups. Even the main barriers to providing CPR may differ greatly between groups. This means that the ideal manikin may look very different for different regions and communities

Our research team will work with the rest of the mymanikins network to decide on the most urgent research questions, allocating funding and communicating our findings to a wider audience – for example, via this blog. Our tasks in the network further include supervision, review, collaboration on research projects, and publication, among others.

We have determined a few research priorities to tackle already. Currently, we are working towards setting a list of the most important criteria that DIY manikins should fulfil, and invent methods by which we can assess these criteria. A next step will be to test the DIY manikins along these standards to enable users (instructors, teachers, course planners, and many others) to make an informed choice.

One thing is for certain: we need to give more people access to learn CPR skills. Based on what we know, we are confident that this may be possible by spreading the idea of low-cost, homemade training simulators.

Feel free to contribute Comment on one of our blog posts or message us directly if you are intrigued and would like to be a part of this network.

Peer reviewed publications reporting learning of CPR with DIY manikins:

Nakagawa, N. K., Oliveira, K. M. G., Lockey, A., et al. (2021). Effectiveness of the 40-Minute Handmade Manikin Program to Teach Hands-on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation at School Communities. American Journal of Cardiology, 139, 126–130. Link

Ohle, R., Moskalyk, M., Boissonneault, E., Bilgasem, A., et al. (2021). Is a homemade cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) trainer non-inferior to a commercially available CPR mannequin in teaching high-quality CPR? A non-inferiority randomized control trial. Resuscitation Plus, 6(February 2021), 100134. Link

Piscopo, A., Piscopo, I. C., Avezum, A., et al. (2018). New mannequin made by recyclable plastic bottles for training thoracic compressions at schools. Circulation, 138(2018), 2021. Link

Piscopo, A., Piscopo, I. C., Fonseca, F. A., et al. (2018). Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Mass Training for High School Children in Public Schools in São Paulo – Brazil – Using PET Bottle Mannequins and Recycled Material. Global Heart, 13(4), 458–459. Link

Van Raemdonck, V., Monsieurs, K. G., Aerenhouts, D., & De Martelaer, K. (2014). Teaching basic life support: A prospective randomized study on low-cost training strategies in secondary schools. European Journal of Emergency Medicine, 21(4), 284–290. Link

Wanner, G. K., Osborne, A., & Greene, C. H. (2016). Brief compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation training video and simulation with homemade mannequin improves CPR skills. BMC Emergency Medicine, 16(1), 4–9. Link

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