8 Lessons about improving resuscitation outcomes through training innovation

April 8, 2021
April 8, 2021

If resuscitation outcomes are going to improve, healthcare professionals have to stop training for resuscitation the same way they always have. For the past 20 years, the in-hospital survival rate for CPR and resuscitation has remained close to 26%. It hasn't changed despite all the efforts to improve the quality of resuscitation and the rate of success. Even more disastrous, there's a wide discrepancy rate across hospitals’ success with resuscitation, even when they’ve been using the same training system. Given that many training programs increase in cost every year, shouldn’t the success rate increase also? Clearly, the training has to change in order for outcomes to improve. Here are eight considerations about incorporating innovation into resuscitation training:

1. Focus on More Than Cardiac Care

Resuscitation needs to be about more than just cardiac-focused care. While resuscitation efforts need to follow cardiac care standards, there are guidelines from other areas of care that need to be considered, including obstetrics and sepsis prevention. What would help is if resuscitation programs begin to have a broader focus and take other healthcare situations into account.

2. People Learn Differently

Resuscitation learners are not all the same, so there needs to be more than a single way to train. Modular content design should be applied to resuscitation training to incorporate flexibility, making the learning adaptable to learners’ knowledge base. In situations where a pre-assessment is possible, some people can test out of parts of the training. Ultimately resuscitation training should be tailored to the needs of the person taking it.  

3. Training Time Can Be Reduced

Many organizations have the potential to save significant time when it comes to resuscitation training, if employees can test out of at least a portion of the training due to their experience and knowledge. On a cumulative level that can make a great difference in terms of cost and time away from care for a healthcare organization.

4. The Pandemic Is Teaching Us to Train Differently

COVID-19 is changing some of the ways we look at resuscitation training. Currently it's possible to get a provisional resuscitation certification from doing the cognitive online component only with hands-on testing to be done later. With training incorporating social distancing guidelines, remote instruction is making more sense. As multiple course delivery formats become the norm, we need to look at success rates and assess whether these changes should become permanent.

5. People Choose Alternate Training Options

People want to receive their resuscitation training in different ways. Some want to test out as much as possible and only take the training they absolutely need. Others may well want to take the full course, appreciating the complete review, just to hone their skills. The ultimate lesson is the need for multiple options to match the wide range of learner experience and approach to training.

6. Specialized Training Is Needed

Specialty-focused resuscitation training can help people better understand and have the skills for specific situations and environments when it comes to resuscitation. Some needs might involve sedation, specialized OB/GYN knowledge, or neonatal care specifics.  

7. Training Should Match Peoples’ Roles

For resuscitation training to be more flexible it needs to include role-specific preparation. For example, most in-hospital resuscitation efforts are going to involve a team of caregivers. Each member of that team needs to have mastered specific tasks, in roles that include team leader, airway management, sedation or medication, compression, and defibrillation. Focusing on education for each of these roles means that everyone is better prepared for emergency situations and the specialized communication required.

8. Incorporate a Bias for Action

Resuscitation outcomes and training benefits when everyone involved in its management has a bias for action. The best systems involve coaching, implementation, encouragement, and multiple ways for people to receive extra information. Managers need visibility into their direct reports’ progress towards resuscitation certification. Leaders need to encourage people to get the skills that will help them contribute to better outcomes.

Ultimately, the best resuscitation solution is going to be one that incorporates as much flexibility as possible, to help meet people where their needs and interests lie. Training that can be specialized or tailored to skill level, experience, and tenure goes a long way toward making that happen. By one estimate, using the improved success rate at just a single hospital, a more successful resuscitation training system could save as many as 383,000 U.S. lives per year.

To learn more about the American Red Cross Resuscitation Suite, and HealthStream’s resuscitation programs, view the webinar on which this post is based, Award-Winning Innovation Drives New Generation of Resuscitation Education.  Learn more about industry-leading CPR training from the American Red Cross that also facilitates social distancing.

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