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3 Essential Questions When Considering An AED 0

Why would I consider an AED for my organization?

AEDs save lives. Every day in the United States, over 1,000 friends, co-workers, and loved-ones develop a life-threatening condition called Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). When used within four minutes of SCA, an AED can produce survival rates of up to 85%. Sadly, due to a lack of readily accessible AEDs, the current survival rate is only 8% to 10%, leaving over 900 families each day wishing an AED-equipped bystander could have intervened.

Organizations provide an optimal environment for effective AED programs. The workplace is second only to the home when it comes to the most likely places to witness an SCA emergency. According to the Society for Human Resources Managers, “All work sites are potential candidates for AED programs to increase the chances of survival of those who suffer Sudden Cardiac Arrest.”1 With minimal consideration and planning, an organization can be in a constant state of readiness to provide the best response to an emergency that happens over 1,000 times a day.

Tip: Don’t think, “It will never happen to us.” Instead think, “Thank goodness it hasn’t happened yet!” Read this report where an AED was used to save someone’s life just 30 minutes after it was placed.

What are the legal implications of establishing an AED program?

Indifference invites risk. Because of the effectiveness of AEDs to treat SCA, the vast majority of cardiac arrest lawsuits result from either a failure to make an AED available to employees and/or patrons, or a failure to use an available AED. As of yet, no lawsuits have been filed in an incident where an AED program was used in a timely manner. Richard Lazar, an attorney at the forefront of AED law explains, “In general, businesses that implement AED programs appear to reduce the risk of liability for Sudden Cardiac Arrest lawsuits as compared to businesses who do not.”2


Compliance is the key
. A compliant AED program addresses industry standards as well as federal and state AED laws. Industry standards tend to focus on the strategy, maintenance and use of an AED program, whereas AED laws generally address accountability issues such as EMS notification of AED placement, training requirements, program oversight...etc. Time after time, courts prove that the best way to reduce liability in the event of a cardiac arrest is with an AED program that complies with both the actions defined by industry standards and the accountability provided by AED laws.

Is an AED program expensive?

In a word, Yes. With entry-level units in the area of $1200, cost can sometimes be a limiter. There are also short and long-term expenses involved in establishing and maintaining an AED program. One study found that as many as one out of every five accessible AEDs would be ineffective during an emergency due to a simple lack of routine maintenance.3 A reason for this may be a misunderstanding regarding future costs on the purchaser’s part.

Plan beyond the initial purchase. Some organizations only consider the initial cost of an AED when choosing an appropriate device. Instead, organizations should take into account the lifespan of the consumables such as batteries and pads. It is wise to take into consideration that some manufacturers’ consumables have a longer service-life than others. A good practice is to calculate the total investment in a unit over a 10-year life expectancy. Other important costs, such as initial and refresher training for anticipated users should also be included in a program budget.

Tip: Where there is a will, there is a way. Even the smallest organizations have successfully deployed AED programs utilizing fundraising, grants, sponsorships and financing to reduce the financial impact of providing access to AEDs.

  • Randy Boone
Understanding The Chain of Survival

Understanding The Chain of Survival 0

The Chain Of Survival

Developed in 1991, the American Heart Association "Chain of Survival" is a series of interventions which, when implemented in a timely manner, can greatly increase the potential for survival of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Since it's inception, the "Chain of Survival" has gone through several iterations.  Currently, there two main chains based on whether the arrest occurs outside the hospital or within.  The most comprehensive version is the Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) Chain of Survival.

The OHCA Chain of Survival consists of five links beginning with bystanders and being completed by healthcare providers:

Recognition and Activation of the Emergency Response System

Quickly activating the Emergency Response System when cardiac arrest is suspected literally puts the wheels in motion toward giving the victim access to definitive care.  

 

 

Immediate High-Quality CPR

Starting High-Quality CPR immediately re-introduces life-giving oxygenated blood-flow to the vital organs, particularly the heart and brain.  High-Quality CPR can allow the heart to be in much better condition for a defibrillation shock than if CPR is not performed.

Rapid Defibrillation

The moment a heart transitions from an organized heart-rhythm to a disorganized rhythm, or fibrillation, seconds truly matter.  Each minute that passes reduces the chance of a successful defibrillation shock by 10%.  AEDs, or Automated External Defibrillators are becoming increasingly available both in-hospital and to the public.  A realistic goal for rapid defibrillation is three to four minutes from the time of collapse.  This is why the American Heart Association recommends people who have a responsibility to respond to a cardiac event have an AED available within 1 to 2 minutes from their location.

Basic and Advanced Life Support

Basic Life Support providers should focus on performing High-Quality CPR by minimizing interruptions in chest compressions and ventilating adequately. As soon as an AED becomes available, BLS providers should deploy and use the AED.  If initial Basic Life Support interventions do not produce a positive result, Advanced Life Support assessments must begin.

Immediate Post-Arrest Care

The return of a spontaneous, organized heart-beat is not the end of the chain.  The ultimate goal for a victim of cardiac arrest is neurally-intact discharge from the hospital.  To help achieve this, advanced post-arrest interventions with induced hypothermia, medication administration and support of basic vital signs must be employed.

Where Do I Fit Into the Chain Of Survival?

During Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests, the best chance of survival rests in the actions of the bystander, who is typically a lay-provider. Lay providers are capable of calling 9-1-1, starting CPR and using an AED to deliver a life-saving defibrillation shock.  The quick actions of a bystander can increase the chance of survival up to 3-times more than that of EMS who typically arrive 6 to 10 minutes after collapse.

Healthcare providers may find themselves entering at any point in the chain.  This is why it is important for healthcare professionals to be versed in bystander CPR as well as Basic and Advanced Life Support.

  • Randy Boone
BLS vs. CPR What is BLS?

BLS vs. CPR What is BLS? 0

BLS vs. CPR What Is BLS? | #askcarepoint

Today’s AskCarePoint question comes from LC3.  LC3 asks: “Hi all, Just a quick question.  Is BLS certification the same thing as CPR certification? If so, where can I take BLS certification classes?”

So, What Is BLS?

BLS stands for Basic Life Support and is the abbreviated title for the course developed by the American Heart Association titled Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers.  In essence, BLS is CPR for Healthcare Providers.

Who Needs BLS Certification?

Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers is the required level of CPR certification for:

Lifeguards, Emergency Medical Technicians, Nurses, Pharmacists, Physicians…and more

Let’s just say, that if you are considered a professional rescuer, healthcare provider or a student of any of these professions, you’re most likely required to obtain BLS certification.

 

Now, unlike lay rescuer CPR classes, where you can mix and match various modules based on your needs, BLS is an all-in-one course that covers the topics and skills of:

 

One and two rescuer CPR for adults, children and infants

  • Use of an Automatic External Defibrillator or AED
  • Rescue breathing for victims of respiratory arrest
  • Ventilation with a bag-mask device or advanced airway
  • Relief of choking or foreign body airway obstruction

 

Please note that the BLS course does not include first aid topics such as treatment for bleeding, burns or broken bones.  So, if you’re a healthcare provider that requires first-aid certification, you’ll need to take both the BLS course and a first aid course.

 

 

How Can I Become Certified In BLS?

Back in the day, BLS was an all-day course delivered in a classroom setting.  The BLS of today has been streamlined and condensed into a 3 to 4-hour classroom-based course, or a blended option that allows you to take the classroom portion online, and then perform a short, in-person skills practice and check-off.

 

If you’re looking for somewhere to become certified in Basic Life Support, many fire departments, hospitals, and privately owned training centers hold BLS certification classes on a regular basis.  A great resource to find a class near you is the American Heart Association’s website found at cpr.heart.org.

 

  • Randy Boone
  • Tags: bls cpr
What To Expect At Your ACLS Skills Session

What To Expect At Your ACLS Skills Session 2

WHAT IS A SKILLS SESSION?

For anyone seeking ACLS certification through the American Heart Association's Heartcode Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (online-based) course, the ACLS Skills Session is an opportunity to practice and test yourself on the applicable hands-on skills with one of our helpful CarePoint instructors.  Heartcode ACLS course is considered a blended learing course, and consists of a 3-part process to certification.

  • Part 1 - eLearning and simulation on any internet-connected computer
  • Part 2 - In-person skills practice
  • Part 3 - In-person skills testing

Before attending your Skills Session, you should have completed Part 1 of the the 3-part process.  Upon completion, be sure to print your Certificate of Completion and bring it with you to turn in to your instructor.

 

 

Upon Arrival...

When your Skills Session begins, you'll be greeted by one of our friendly AHA instructors.  You'll then be asked to turn in your Part 1 Certificate of Completion.  

We're focused on your understanding and success, so this point will be a great opportunity to ask questions or review  the information you've already covered.  Your instructor will ask if there was any aspect of the course for which you have questions.  Take this opportunity to address any topics that may not be clear

Skills Practice and Testing

The skills involved in your ACLS check-off will focus on your BLS interventions.  Your instructor will work with you to make sure you're comfortable performing the following skills:

You will be presented with an "in-hospital" adult BLS scenario so you can practice these skills in sequence. Following this opportunity to practice, your instructor will then test your skills by asking you to perform the scenario without any assistance or intervention from the instructor.  

 

Once the adult check-off is complete, your instructor will also assess your ability to identify respiratory arrest and provide rescue breaths with a bag-mask device.

 

Shhhhhhhhh...don't tell anyone (just kidding), but we've included the appropriate check-off sheets to assist you in preparing for a successful check-off:

BLS Adult Skills Testing.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 537.8 KB
Management of Respiratory Arrest.pdf
Download
Adobe Acrobat Document 421.3 KB

 

Upon successful completion of your ACLS Skills Session, you will have earned your 2-year American Heart Association Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certification.  At CarePoint Resources, our hope is that this information aides you in preparing for a smooth and confident check-off experience!

  • Randy Boone
  • Tags: acls
What To Expect At Your BLS Skills Session

What To Expect At Your BLS Skills Session 0

WHAT IS A SKILLS SESSION?

For those who seek BLS certification through the American Heart Association's Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers Blended (online-based) course, the BLS Skills Session is an opportunity to practice and test the necessary hands-on skills with one of our helpful instructors. The blended course is a 3-part process to certification.

  • Part 1 - eLearning and simulation on any web-connected computer
  • Part 2 - In-person skills practice
  • Part 3 - In-person skills testing
Prior to attending a Skills Session, the participant should have completed Part 1 of the the 3-part process. Upon completion, the participant should print their Certificate of Completion and bring it with them to give their instructor.

 

 

WHEN YOU ARRIVE...

Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by one of our friendly AHA instructors. You'll then be asked to present your Part 1 Certificate of Completion.

We're focused on your understanding and success, so your instructor will ask if there was any aspect of the course for which you have questions. Take this opportunity to address any topics that may not be clear.

SKILLS PRACTICE AND TESTING
Your instructor will work with you to make sure you're comfortable performing the following skills:

You'll then be given an "in-hospital" adult BLS scenario so you can practice these skills in sequence. Following this opportunity to practice, your instructor will test your skills by asking you to perform the scenario without any assistance or intervention from the instructor.


Once the adult check-off is complete, you'll then follow the same process for the infant skills and scenario.


Shhhhhhhhh...don't tell anyone (just kidding), but we've included the adult and infant BLS check-off sheet to assist you in preparing for a successful check-off:


BLS Adult Skills Testing.pdf
Download
Adobe Acrobat Document 537.8 KB
BLS Infant Skills Testing.pdf
Download
Adobe Acrobat Document 936.1 KB

Upon successful completion of your BLS Skills Session, you will have earned your 2-year American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers certification. At CarePoint Resources, our hope is that this information aides you in preparing for a smooth and confident check-off experience!


  • Randy Boone
Agonal Breaths | When Breathing Isn't.

Agonal Breaths | When Breathing Isn't. 0

WHAT IS AGONAL BREATHING? WHAT ISN'T IT? WHY IS IT A "GOOD" SIGN DURING CARDIAC ARREST?


WHAT ARE AGONAL BREATHS?

Agonal breaths or respirations are, in essence, the body's last-ditch effort to deliver oxygen to the vital organs. When a victim of cardiac arrest's heart ceases to pump blood due to a disorganized rhythm, the breathing center in the brain begins to starve for oxygen-rich blood. This is called "ischemia." In this state, the brain-stem initiates a reflexive type of "breathing" characterized by an infrequent, sudden, shallow gasp. This reflexive breathing pattern is made possible through the sudden spasm of both the diaphragm and the muscles in the jaw that can occur for up to several minutes following cardiac arrest.

To the untrained eye, the sudden expansion of the chest and opening of the mouth may look similar to normal breathing, but this phenomenon is, in fact, anything but normal.

AGONAL BREATHING IS NOT NORMAL BREATHING

Normal, life-sustaining breathing is typically smooth, rhythmic, and quiet. Agonal respirations are sudden, irregular and normally accompanied with a snoring sound or gasping vocalization as a small amount of air enters the lungs. Studies show that up to 40% of cardiac arrest victims exhibit an agonal breathing pattern. For this reason, it is important to realize that when an unresponsive person is seen with agonal-type breathing it is a sign of the need for CPR and AED use for lay-providers, and for healthcare providers, it is a prompt for carotid pulse assessment.

THE CURSE AND BLESSING OF AGONAL BREATHS

The Curse - Responder Confusion

Far too often, bystanders and even healthcare professionals witness agonal breathing and assume the victim has a beating heart. This results in a failure to begin resuscitation when in fact, the patient is in desperate need of CPR and defibrillation. With 30-40% of cardiac arrest victims experiencing agonal respirations, the need for bystanders and EMS personnel to recognize this phenomenon and respond appropriately is vital.

The Blessing - A Window of Opportunity

Seconds matter in cardiac arrest with the probability of successful resuscitation being highest within the first 3 to 4 minutes of the event. Since we know that agonal breaths are only present during the first few minutes after cardiac compromise, even in an un-witnessed arrest, their presence can be reassurance that this window of opportunity is still open.

 

 

RESPONDING TO AGONAL BREATHING

FOR LAYPERSONS

Outside of the hospital setting, the lay-provider is the most likely candidate to witness agonal breaths in a cardiac arrest victim. This is the point where the quality of your CPR training comes into play.

Once you recognize the presence of the quick, reflexive, and irregular gasps in an unresponsive person, you should be assured of the victim's need for immediate CPR and rapid defibrillation. The best results will occur with high-quality CPR being performed until a readily available AED is applied and instructs you to pause CPR.

Remember, victims taking agonal breaths are treated the same way as victims who are not breathing at all. Activate the emergency response system, use an AED, and perform CPR in the meantime.

FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS

Remember your Basic Life Support training. Your next action when you see an agonal breath in an unresponsive patient is to call for help and assess for a carotid pulse. If there is no definite, strong pulse felt within 5 to 10 seconds, begin CPR while the cardiac defibrillator or AED is being applied. Also remember that in the interest of not interrupting life-giving chest compressions, we do not reassess a carotid pulse until we see signs of life in the presence of an AED, or we see the presence of an organized rhythm on the cardiac monitor. Continued agonal breaths during CPR are not considered signs of life as are normal spontaneous breathing and purposeful movement.
  • Randy Boone
  • Tags: agonal