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Resuscitation Rates – Where Is the Improvement?

Survival rates for inpatient sudden cardiac arrest have been stagnant for years. This is the case even as the American Heart Association (AHA) has had a goal of increasing sudden cardiac arrest survival rates from the current rate of approximately 15% to 38%.

Resuscitation Quality Improvement – A Clear Path to Higher Survival Rates?

The goal was ambitious, and it was believed that these results would primarily be achieved by improving the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) skills of healthcare providers. The AHA had compelling research that indicated that the likely culprit in poor survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest was the rapid deterioration of the psychomotor skills associated with high quality CPR.

Healthcare organizations were (and in many cases still are) providing biennial CPR training. That schedule meets most local, state and national regulatory requirements. However, the AHA’s research showed that the skills associated with high-quality CPR actually began to deteriorate within three to six months. The AHA began an extensive campaign to share the research results and try to move healthcare providers to more frequent training. The research was compelling and the recommendations to increase the frequency and change the modes of training were well-received, so why haven’t survival rates improved?

Barriers to Improvements in CPR Survival Rate

At this point, little is known about why these recommended training interventions had so little impact on survival rates, but there are some likely culprits.

  • It is estimated that one-third or more of cardiac arrest deaths may be avoidable. The first line of defense is not CPR training; it is prevention. Hospitals have struggled to implement programs that would reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Many healthcare organizations have simply not adopted the recommendation for more frequent training. Fears about cost, time requirements, and other resources for more frequent training may have contributed to this reluctance in spite of the fairly widespread acceptance of the data that supports more frequent training.
  • Many healthcare organizations still do not have a multidisciplinary team that is responsible for cardiac arrest outcomes. These organizations may not be taking advantage of the data from outcomes and processes that would help them make the best recommendations for improvements in processes and also recommend changes in how staff are trained to do CPR.
  • The one-size fits all approach of many training programs may be less effective than those that are customizable to the needs of students.

Solutions That Work

What should come next? How do we take hold of what we know about the optimal means of training healthcare providers on how to deliver high-quality CPR?

HealthStream has partnered with the American Red Cross for a solution that can help healthcare organizations respond effectively and efficiently to the data that suggests a need for more frequent training. The American Red Cross Resuscitation Suite:

  • Is built on rigorous science that informs the training guidelines – The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR), the American Red Cross and its Scientific Advisory Council have informed every step of the development of this content. Users can be confident in the research-based recommendation for its optimal as well as the ways and means of achieving that training.
  • Provides a customizable approach that is designed to provide the optimal training frequency for each type of student.
  • Creates competence and confidence in users.
  • Is customizable and adaptive while still delivering the most advanced CPR training.
    • Stimulates critical thinking using real-life scenarios. The Suite includes videos and simulations featuring real physicians and nurses in hospital settings demonstrating the kinds of critical thinking and decision-making important to successful outcomes.
  • Provides flexibility with content that can be accessed at any time from any device.

Smarter, More Flexible Choices for CPR Training

The recommendation for considerably more frequent CPR training may seem daunting, but the right educational tools can help healthcare organizations educate providers on the very latest guidance on CPR using a streamlined educational tool that can save time (and money) in the certification process while still insuring that the student is receiving training that is based on the very latest science on what constitutes high-quality CPR.   

When lives are at stake, can everyone on your staff respond quickly and competently to a resuscitation event? Many healthcare leaders are concerned that despite rising costs of training, resuscitation rates have not improved in the last decade. The American Red Cross Resuscitation Suite ™ for BLS, ALS and PALS empowers healthcare organizations to be in control of a customizable adaptive program, saving the organization money while participating in the next wave of resuscitation advancement.


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