Required Elements of a Successful Resuscitation Program for the Care Continuum

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

Where and how healthcare is delivered has changed significantly in recent years—more healthcare is being delivered outside hospitals, and organizations across the care continuum are treating patients with far higher levels of acuity than traditionally has been the case. This makes improving resuscitation very important for the care continuum, where resuscitation success rates range from a shocking 2 to 11 percent. Both acute- and continuum care organizations are challenged to improve resuscitation rates while also maintaining patient functionality afterwards.

Elements of a Successful Resuscitation Program – the Must-Haves

As leaders across the care continuum plan to provide higher quality CPR training, what should they do to lay the foundation for success? Former Resuscitation Training expert Donna Haynes shared these must-haves for moving towards a more rigorous resuscitation training program for the care continuum.

  • Support from Leadership - Chief Nursing Officers, Directors of Nursing, Directors of Education, and staff alike are aware of the increasing acuity levels of patients across the continuum of care. While it is certainly true that a patient who codes outside the hospital will be transferred to an acute-care facility, these leaders and their staff also know that what happens in the first few minutes of that Code really matter. Providing high-quality CPR is a differentiator and no less important outside the hospital.


  • Effective Communication - Building skills can also build staff confidence, as can communication. “Working as a team to clearly communicate what is happening during the code and communicating all that is known of the patient’s history are key elements of a successful code, regardless of the setting,” said Haynes.


  • Resource Replacement - Haynes stressed the importance of keeping the manikins and any other equipment in good working order to provide the optimal student experience and the highest quality training. Manikins need to be maintained and replaced periodically.


  • Change Management Strategy - Haynes affirmed that building support for any change to a higher quality resuscitation training program is imperative. She encourages leaders to manage this change as they would any other change that would affect employees. Nurse educators are often in a position to be able to recruit super-users who can serve as both advocates for the new training modality and as subject matter experts.


  • Training adaptability - Depending on the care environment and the likelihood of Code occurrences, it may be helpful to incorporate interval training for resuscitation. Rather than taking a class once, getting certified, and then repeating the procedure when it’s time for certificate renewal, CPR training can be an ongoing engagement through short interactions on a regular basis. The result? Better skills retention, more confidence, and more accurate and timely intervention during an event.

  • Greater Training Flexibility - The world of CPR training has been pretty standardized for a long time—the idea of taking what many see as a well-designed formula and tinkering with it will likely raise some eyebrows. However, “flexibility is critical,” says Jonathan Epstein, Senior Director of Science, Industry, and Government Relationships for the Training Services division of the American Red Cross. Instead of a one-size-fits-all program for every employee, resuscitation curriculum and training programs should be “built around adaptive learning, with pre-assessments that allow individualized learning plans. This approach to learning is more personalized and focused. It can reduce course times for those who demonstrate sufficient competency. It also saves the organization money and increases staff availability for delivering care.” Epstein adds that the Joint Commission rules support CPR training and certification from any organization’s programs that “are using ILCOR science and following the ILCOR pathway. In fact, most regulations include language about programs meeting a ‘standard of or equivalency’ because it would legally be a restriction of trade to have a regulation that bars any other organization.


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