There is no doubt that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (‘CPR’) saves lives. In fact, it’s estimated that receiving such treatment at the scene soon after a collapse and cessation of the heart and breathing can more than double the victim’s chances of survival. While CPR training is considered to be a valuable skill for many, for those involved in the healthcare professions, it’s mandatory.
This short post looks in more detail at what CPR training covers and how to determine which is right for your employees’ needs, as the term can cover a range of skills. At the most basic level, the first aid techniques taught are suitable for any individual keen to learn the principles of keeping someone alive at the scene of an incident until the paramedics or other emergency medical team arrive. At a more advanced stage, course participants will be taught to administer more sophisticated resuscitation techniques. Both courses, though, should assist delegates to identify when an adult, child or infant should be placed in the recovery position. Participants should be taught to recognise the signs of a cardiac arrest; summon help from individuals with appropriate medical training; and begin basic life support (BLS). BLS consists of checking whether the victim is able to respond; and if not, ensuring their airway is open and whether breathing is normal. Techniques for chest compressions, and rescue breaths where appropriate, are also taught. A basic course is considered essential for first aiders in the workplace or at public events, for example; whereas it is mandatory for many health professionals of any type.
The more advanced type of course is mandatory resuscitation training for healthcare professionals involved in the delivery of primary healthcare. This includes BLS training, but also the safe and appropriate utilisation of a manual or automated external defibrillator as well as airway management techniques. Recipients of this level of training might include certain staff at GPs’ surgeries and providers of urgent or out of hours care, such as a Walk-In Centre or the Accident and Emergency department at a hospital. While the training is termed mandatory, guidelines and quality standards laid down by the Resuscitation Council (UK) make it clear that different roles require differing degrees and elements of knowledge. So you’ll find that there is separate discipline-specific training targeted at other types of healthcare professionals, such as dentists. As another example, CPR or BLS techniques may also be incorporated into different clinical skills courses such as venepuncture training or vaccination training, in case the patient suffers an anaphylactic reaction to an injection, for instance. Luckily, most people will rarely, if ever, be called upon to administer CPR. However, this does mean that skills can be forgotten over time. Additionally, from time to time, best practice recommendations in CPR techniques may change.
Therefore, as with many medical training courses, it is recommended that all healthcare professionals receive refresher CPR training sessions every twelve months. As we never know from day to day when we’ll be faced with an emergency situation, it’s vital to keep this life-saving skillset up to date.