Comilla Sasson, MD, PhD, FAHA, FACEP, September 11, 2019
Today you have more choices than ever before for resuscitation training. Here are seven key things to ask when evaluating a training provider to be sure you are choosing the most effective training for this life-saving skill.
Do the courses incorporate the latest resuscitation science and updated guidelines?
Resuscitation science and the resulting guidelines change as improvements are discovered, tested, and proven. Keeping your staff up to date using current, evidence-based resuscitation practices results in improved patient care and outcomes.
Do the programs require foundational BLS skills practice and testing in BLS, ACLS and PALS courses?
The most important component of successful resuscitation is the delivery of high-quality CPR. BLS is often the weakest link in resuscitation, as validated in a recent health system case study. Healthcare providers need to practice BLS skills often to ensure they are competent and prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency. Allowing providers to shorten or skip over BLS skills practice and testing can lead to compromised patient care.
Does the program require the use of directive feedback devices to measure compression rate and depth?
Many resuscitation training programs do not. The problem is you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Feedback device technology has shown that most people overestimate their ability to deliver effective CPR1. To ensure high-quality CPR skills, the use of a directive feedback device is necessary to objectively measure CPR quality in real time. Feedback devices highlight strengths and weaknesses and enable skills improvement.
Does the program include a focus on continuous quality improvement?
A high-quality training provider will offer a portfolio of courses – tailored to varying levels of experience – aimed at improving CPR quality. With average adult survival rates of 26%2 for in-hospital cardiac arrest and up to 11%2 for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, continuous improvement to cardiac arrest response and delivery of high-quality CPR is an obligation to patients. Healthcare providers must be competent in delivering high-quality CPR, and patient care teams must be coordinated and competent working together effectively.
Does the program offer “verified competence” credentials?
Verified competence is the new standard of care achieved through programs that require measured quarterly CPR skills practice and cognitive learning. Interval CPR skills training of any frequency less than every six months is neither evidence-based nor science-based.3 Although some training providers claim a flexible interval training approach is scientifically proven to lead to competence, this is not true.
Is the program designed for quick certifications?
Many healthcare providers believe they are proficient at performing high-quality CPR and do not need to review content or practice skills. Even those that provide CPR occasionally or often have been found to compress and ventilate incorrectly and need more frequent skills practice.1 Quickly testing out of skills and skipping core content can compromise resuscitation knowledge, CPR skills competence, and patient care. With annual resuscitation guidelines updates and frequent scientific statements being released, providers can learn important new information on improvements to resuscitation delivery and patient care.
Are the programs developed by resuscitation science and education experts?
When learning and mastering a skill, going to the source is the key to success. When one organization leads the rest in developing the science, education, and practice of a lifesaving skill, why look to one of its followers? The lead organization will be more up to date on the science and practice in its education and lead the others in delivering improvements and innovations.
If your resuscitation training provider cannot answer yes to all these questions, you are likely not receiving the best training.
The American Heart Association is the most trusted leader in resuscitation science and education with a portfolio of training and education programs tailored to clinical and non-clinical caregivers of all levels. We conduct the research and author the resuscitation guidelines followed across the United States. We developed the first-ever Resuscitation Education Scientific Statement to improve resuscitation education, training and practice. Our ongoing research leads to continuous improvements in CPR quality and resuscitation methods that save more lives.
Healthcare organizations use the AHA’s guidelines as the foundation for their own guideline-directed care and clinical pathway decisions. Training with our proven resuscitation programs helps you deliver the best possible patient care. Better training saves lives, and more than 90% of hospitals choose the leader in CPR training.4
Join the AHA for new and exciting resuscitation courses—incorporating the latest science and innovation—to be released starting October 2020. Learn more now.
1 CPR Quality: Improving Cardiac Resuscitation Outcomes Both Inside and Outside the Hospital: A Consensus Statement From the American Heart Association; published in Circulation June 25, 2013
2 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2019 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association; Circulation Journal
3 Hamilton R. Nurses’ knowledge and skill retention following cardiopulmonary resuscitation training: a review of the literature. J Adv Nurs. 2005;51:288–297. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2005.03491.x.; Meaney PA, Sutton RM, Tsima B, Steenhoff AP, Shilkofski N, Boulet JR, Davis A, Kestler AM, Church KK, Niles DE, Irving SY, Mazhani L, Nadkarni VM. Training hospital providers in basic CPR skills in Botswana: acquisition, retention and impact of novel training techniques. Resuscitation. 2012;83:1484–1490. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2012.04.014.; Madden C. Undergraduate nursing students’ acquisition and retention of CPR knowledge and skills. Nurse Educ Today. 2006;26:218–227. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2005.10.003.
4 Based on 2019 Health Forum LLC, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association statistics and American Heart Association Sales Database, July 30, 2019