CPR Training and Education Evolves to Improve Survivability and Outcomes

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

Training programs for CPR, either in the workplace or for the public at large, have been around for years. Even in healthcare settings, however, they tend to fade into the background as part of a “must-do” checklist for annual certification. Much of that has been due to antiquated teaching methods and scattershot approaches to regular education and certification, something that’s changing for the better thanks to an international effort, says Donna Haynes, a nurse and clinical educator who serves as HealthStream’s national resuscitation coach.

“The foundation of CPR guidelines was developed by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, or ILCOR, so they are the same in all countries,” Haynes says. Now, the ILCOR purpose is to guide a transformational change on a large scale to really enhance resuscitation outcomes. They really have the intent as a group to fill the gap between the existing sciences surrounding resuscitation and how we can improve on those sciences.”

The stats indicate that there is a definite need. Estimates show that only 18 percent to 24 percent of adult patients will survive in hospital sudden cardiac arrest. That’s a grim statistic, and one that Haynes says can actually dip down to as low as 2 percent in non-acute care settings. On top of that, many survivors — a third to one-half — will have newly developed, moderate to severe narrowing of their cardiac function.

“So, they may survive, but will they be able to continue living a life that they lived before the arrest? These are situations that we need to look at, as well as how can we provide resuscitation and also work at maintaining functionality after the encounter,” she says. “We must focus on quality CPR to improve the outcomes.”

Training pivots to broader scope

In short, CPR training must move beyond just getting that certification card. The goal is a staff that can provide quality CPR until other care can be implemented. That, in turn, improves outcomes. And to get there, training is moving in a more objective direction, including the use of manikins that can provide literal feedback on the student’s efforts vs. an instructor providing information but perhaps not as much hands-on experience. And, of course, commitment is everything.

“Really being committed, and having a group of individuals that have that same commitment coming together and planning a program, can bring success,” Haynes says.

What does that ideal CPR training program look like? It has a few core components:

Online: Students can complete study portions for any CPR training, be that basic, life-saving, or advanced life-saving curriculum. This ensures that each can work at his or her own speed, Haynes says, and don’t feel rushed.

Classroom: In addition to an instructor, students can benefit in a live setting from those who have certified before and are back for a refresher. Students can, and should be, encouraged to help each other succeed.

Equipment: Manikins are becoming increasingly core to well-done CPR programs, largely because they are able to give immediate and detailed feedback. When that comes, students can begin to hone in on what is at the root of quality CPR: Am I delivering compressions that will be effective, that will provide the opportunity for this patient to survive?

“I think all of that is so important when looking at how you’re building your course and classes,” Haynes says. “I would also add having mock codes on a fairly frequent basis, whether that be quarterly or twice a year, so that people can continue to evolve in their skills. It gives those care providers a more frequent review of the knowledge of how to respond effectively in a code situation.”

About Donna Haynes:

Donna Haynes is a nurse and clinical educator who serves as HealthStream’s national resuscitation coach. Her results-oriented HeartCode programs meet the new American Hospital Association guidelines for Resuscitation Quality Improvement, making them a must for any organization committed to delivering quality patient care. Prior to joining HealthStream, Donna was a HeartCode user and administrator at Pullman Regional Hospital. Her healthcare career also has included roles as an emergency department, pediatric intensive care and medical surgical staff RN, Director of Clinical Education and Simulation and a Magnet Coordinator. She is a national award winner for her work in developing CPR competence.

This blog post is taken from a HealthStream Second Opinions Podcast that was recorded recently. To hear Haynes’ full discussion, click here.