Ensuring High-Quality CPR in Non-Acute Settings

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This blog post is based on a recent webinar featuring HealthStream’s Donna Haynes and Alex Harris. Haynes is a resuscitation coach with more than 30 years of experience in healthcare. She is a nurse and an educator with a deep understanding of the importance of high-quality CPR. Harris helps connect healthcare organization with the best and most recent resuscitation training solutions.

High-Quality CPR in the Non-Acute Setting

Changes in the delivery of healthcare should be considered when we think about CPR training for providers in non-acute settings. First, the non-acute setting includes a diverse array of settings, from skilled nursing facilities and ambulatory surgery centers to rehab facilities.  “This, combined with the rather dismal survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest in these settings (estimated at just 2-11%), should really inform our decisions about how to provide optimal training,” says Haynes.

The shift towards providing care outside of the walls of traditional acute-care hospitals also has had an important role in changing how we think about CPR training for those providers. “As more healthcare is moved outside the walls of regular acute-care hospitals, we must understand that leaders in non-acute settings need to move beyond the traditional activity of simply getting CPR cards and really invest in the kind of training that their employees need—the kind of training that saves lives and improves outcomes,” says Haynes.

Fresh Challenges in an Evolving Healthcare Environment

Given the extensive variety of non-acute settings, what does Haynes believe to be the challenges facing these providers?

Haynes points first to the most obvious challenge, which may be the fact that non-acute care happens in such a variety of settings and the acuity of patients can vary widely from one setting to the next. In addition, the non-acute category includes both residential and non-residential settings. In some cases, providers may not have the kind of extensive medical history on the patient that they would be able to access if the patient were in an acute-care setting.

The Good News and the Bad News

The good news is that codes are much less frequent in these settings, but that may also be part of the bad news. CPR skills that are refreshed just once every two years will likely not result in high-quality, life-saving CPR. In 2015, the American Heart Association (AHA) updated its guidelines to healthcare providers on CPR training. As Harris puts it, “if you don’t use it, you lose it,” which is precisely what the AHA discovered about CPR skills. Those skills actually begin to decay in as little as three months which leaves a significant gap between the recommended training interval—every three months—and the current process in most healthcare settings—once every two years. Harris adds that “just like their acute-care counterparts, providers in non-acute settings, need to receive the highest quality CPR training available and to receive it in a way that is easily accessible and readily available at all times.”

Learn more about HeartCode® and other resuscitation solutions.