With vaccination rates on the rise and more people returning to work in public places, you may be wondering if it’s safe to use Friday Night at the ER with your groups. Naturally, this depends on the Covid rates where you live and work, and whether everyone in your group is vaccinated and wears a mask.

University at Buffalo students play Friday Night at the ER

If you do use Friday Night at the ER this winter — and we hope you do — we have created special guidelines to help keep your players safe and your game boards clean.

A number of our customers have already used our safety recommendations and found them to be very helpful. At the University at Buffalo, for example, the Office of Interprofessional Education led nearly 400 first-year health professions students through the game this fall to help them learn about interprofessional collaboration. With that many students rotating through the experience over nine sessions, it was imperative to have protocols in place for both player safety and sanitation of the game materials between rounds.

“It is logistically challenging to plan nine different sessions of the game with students from 12 different professions, so having specific safety measures to follow before, during and after the game saved us the time it would have taken to create procedures from scratch,” explains Patricia Ohtake, assistant vice president for interprofessional education and an associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science.

“The guidelines also gave us the confidence to do this, and we’re so glad we did. Friday Night at the ER is such a unique way for our first-year students to begin developing their professional collaboration skills, and they always have fun playing the game.”

As you read the guidelines, please apply judgment to make sure they complement any other Covid-safety recommendations from the public health experts in your area.

Prior to the Day of the Event

  • Ask participants to bring a face mask.
  • Ask participants who are feeling sick (or believe they may have been exposed to others who are feeling sick) to skip the event.
  • Announce the measures you are taking to help make the event safe.

Set Up

  • Follow CDC guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.
  • Wear a mask when setting up game tables.
  • Use 6-foot round tables to maximize the space between participants while keeping each player’s department within reach. (While the game boards are large, players will not be the recommended six feet apart in most seating arrangements.)
  • Put hand sanitizer and extra masks on a table near the entrance of the room so that they are accessible upon entering the room. Also put hand sanitizer at each table.
  • At each department, provide a personal container for blue beads using the four screw-top jars and a personal container for clear beads using the jar caps. For enough beads to go around, you will need to use the extra beads located in your game carry bag’s outer pocket.
  • Place the Arrivals Display close to Emergency to encourage only the Emergency Manager to flip the Arrivals Cards.
  • Place the team name card and marker pen close to Step Down to encourage only the Step Down Manager to handle these parts.

During the Game

  • Instruct players to draw from their personal blue beads container when accepting a patient transfer, rather than taking the blue bead from another player.
  • Assign the Emergency Manager to flip the Arrivals Cards.
  • Assign the Step Down Manager to write the hospital on the team name card.
  • Do not use the optional “re-org” challenge where players switch seats halfway through the game.
  • At the end, assign one player to calculate the team’s scores.

Clean Up

  • Wear a mask when cleaning up game tables.
  • It is always a good idea to clean game parts that are visibility dirty. In this case, you may follow the cleaning suggestions for each of the parts listed below.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaning materials as these may wear down or scratch the surfaces.

Extra Precautions

If you need to take even stricter precautions, here are additional steps you can consider for cleaning and disinfecting all game parts.

The following paper-based parts can be cleaned using a barely damp washcloth with soapy water and then disinfected using disinfecting wipes such as Clorox or Lysol:

  • Department Cards
  • Data Cards
  • Arrivals Cards
  • Game Tubes

The following plastic-based parts can be cleaned using a damp washcloth with soapy water and then disinfected using disinfecting wipes such as Clorox or Lysol:

  • Game Boards
  • Game Carry Bags
  • No Beds / Divert Signs
  • Arrivals Display

To speed up the process, the remaining plastic-based parts can be cleaned by submerging and scrubbing in soapy water and then disinfected by submerging in a liquid bleach solution, isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide:

  • Beads
  • Marker Pens
  • Screw-top Jars and Caps
  • Small Plastic Bags
  • Game Tube End Caps

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