BLS or Basic life support refers to professional first responders’ assistance to victims with an obstructed airway, respiratory distress, and cardiac arrest. The BLS Training for Healthcare providers covers skills in CPR, among other basic cardiovascular life support skills, in and out-of-hospital settings. The skills require the knowledge of CPR, the use of the AED, and knowledge of relieving airway obstruction.
Over 350,000 people experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest annually in the United States, with only 10% surviving. The survival rate for in-hospital cardiac arrest is 25%. The American Heart Association believes more can be done to increase the rates of survival. It emphasizes the need for more people to acquire CPR skills as the best way to ensure high-quality CPR.
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Importance of BLS Training for Healthcare Providers:
Healthcare providers are on the front line during a wide variety of emergency situations. They should therefore have the basic life support skills at their fingertips. In cases of cardiac arrest, the victim stops breathing, and they only have a few minutes to save them. Every medical provider should have a valid basic life support certification as these skills are critical in the daily work life of a healthcare provider. These include nurses, doctors, and nursing assistants.
CPR skills are essential in their everyday lives as their jobs revolve around saving lives. They need to watch out for the possibility of patients going into cardiac arrest and offer the necessary help. They also need to understand life-saving procedures, including using the AED. Whenever a patient experiences cardiac arrest, their families rely on health care workers to offer the necessary assistance.
Although they are always in contact with patients, there is a need for healthcare providers to refresh their CPR skills and knowledge in offering first aid to cardiac arrest victims. Studies show that failure to put the skills into practice for six months can compromise the ability of a rescuer to provide high-quality CPR. Research is always ongoing on how to save lives. These findings consistently offer new and improved processes concerning CPR procedures.
The BLS for Healthcare Professionals provides skills in the following areas:
- In hospital chain of survival for adults and pediatric patients.
- Performing high-quality chest compressions for victims of different ages (infants, children, and adults).
- The importance of early use of AED.
- When and how to provide ventilations effectively using a barrier.
- How to work in rescue teams in providing resuscitation and CPR.
- Relief for victims of choking or airway obstruction of different ages.
Try Free Basic Life Support (BLS) Practice Test Quiz.
The Chain of Survival:
The chain of survival refers to a specific sequence of events that, when carried out, increases the chances of survival for cardiac arrest victims. The chain involves the early recognition of the signs of cardiac arrest and early administration of CPR. Early recognition of the symptoms of cardiac arrest victims: There are specific symptoms common for cardiac arrest victims. The victim might collapse and fall unconscious. However, before this, they might experience light-headedness, chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing.
The Concept of “CAB” Applies to Basic Life Support:
Healthcare professionals should understand the concept of CAB (Compression, Airway, and Breathing). It refers to the sequence of events in basic life support. The CAB concept aims to ensure that the victim receives CPR within the shortest time possible. Research findings by the American Heart Association show that beginning the chest compressions earlier improves the victim’s chances of survival. Responders should not take more than 10 seconds to check for a pulse.
Wherever in doubt, bystanders should begin CPR. Little harm is likely to occur if the victim does not need CPR. Earlier CPR procedures advised for listening and feeling for breathing, which might take more time for non-medical professionals. If the victim is unresponsive, gasping for air, or without a pulse, it’s best to begin CPR within the shortest time possible.
The quality of CPR provided determines the chances of survival of the victim until the emergency medical services team becomes available for advanced treatment. Early administration of CPR offers better chances of survival. The CPR procedure differs depending on age. The depth of chest compressions for infants, children, and adults vary. High-quality CPR is critical for the survival of the victim and takes into account the following:
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- The rescuer should provide 100 chest compressions per minute.
- They should also minimize interruptions between the compressions unless using the AED or changing the responder.
- The depth of chest compressions recommended for adults is 2inches, while that of infants is 1.5 inches without exceeding 2inches.
- The responder should also allow for a complete chest recoil between compressions.
- Interchanging rescuers when fatigued is also critical in providing high-quality CPR
- They should also be taking precautions to avoid overventilation.
Early Use of the AED:
The automated defibrillator (AED) is a critical device in reviving the heart of a cardiac arrest victim. The early defibrillation is used, the better the outcome. It should be therefore used as soon as it is available. The machine detects and advises whether or not a shock is necessary for that particular case. The most common cause of cardiac arrest is ventricular defibrillation. The condition is reversible by delivering an electric shock to the victim’s heart through the chest wall. Although it is easy to use, the AED requires skills and knowledge to operate.
Airway Obstruction or Choking:
Health care professionals handle different types of emergencies. A basic life support course gives the individual skills to effectively relieve choking victims and offer the necessary treatment. These professionals are expected to effectively care for victims of different circumstances and provide the necessary treatment. Choking is one of the most common health emergencies. It results from the obstructed airway and can potentially lead to cardiac arrest. The treatment for obstruction varies depending on the degree of obstruction and the victim’s age. Obstruction can be severe or mild obstruction. Severe choking is a medical emergency that should be addressed within the shortest time possible.
Skills in Teamwork When Providing Resuscitation and CPR:
Successful resuscitation requires teams working closely together. The participants use cognitive, behavioral, and technical skills in these operations. The individuals are unable to function without proper coordination. Basic life support classes equip individuals with skills to take up different roles in resuscitation procedures. Time is critical when providing CPR. Properly coordinated teams give better results as little time is wasted in planning the operation.
Effective Ventilation When Using a Barrier:
Ventilation or rescue breathing is a critical part of CPR. Bag-mask ventilation provides similar results to advanced airway interventions when giving CPR to in-hospital cardiac arrest victims. After successful resuscitation, cardiac arrest victims require post-cardiac arrest care since it doesn’t return spontaneous circulation (ROSC) is not certain.
When providing ventilation, avoid doing it too rapidly or forcing air too much into the airway as training offers options of online basic life support training followed by hands-on experience. In addition, it might result in more complications if the air moves to the victim’s stomach.
In most cases, respiratory arrest precedes cardiac arrest. Therefore, if you can identify the signs of respiratory arrest, you are more likely to prevent the occurrence of cardiac arrest. Wherever the victim has a pulse but no signs of breathing, start rescue breathing immediately.
Also Read- CPR vs. Rescue Breathing: The Basic Resuscitation Difference
Post Cardiac Arrest Care:
Healthcare professionals should be aware of the aftermath of cardiac arrest and address the problems appropriately. Even after discharge from the hospital, cardiac arrest care is critical in cardiac arrest patients’ recovery. Victims often experience emotional, physical, and cognitive challenges. Thus, the patients require continued care and support, which can be in the form of therapies and interventions.
Upon recovery, cardiac arrest patients need proper post-cardiac arrest syndrome management, presenting ischemia or reperfusion injury, myocardial dysfunction with low cardiac output, and brain dysfunction. The management of these conditions prevents the risk of secondary damage. Appropriate Neuroprognosis is critical in proper caregiver guidance. Since cardiac arrest survivors are at a high risk of neurodevelopmental impairment, there is a need for early referral for a rehabilitation assessment. In infants, the process involves continuous electroencephalography monitoring and targeted temperature management. The care also entails treating certain conditions such as hypercapnia/hypocapnia, hyperoxia/hypoxia, and hypotension.
Read more about: How to Get BLS Certification?
Taking BLS for healthcare providers online is crucial for healthcare providers. They may experience posttraumatic stress and anxiety after providing or failing to provide basic life support—hospital-based healthcare providers, in particular, experience psychological and emotional effects after caring for cardiac arrest victims. The American Heart Association guidelines advise follow-up emotional support to hospital-based health workers, emergency responders, and lay rescuers after a cardiac arrest. Health facilities should assess stressors associated with critically ill patients and conduct a review on team performance and the quality of services they offer. If you need to recertify, you can enroll in a online CPR recertification for healthcare providers, BLS recertification AHA or BLS provider renewal course to refresh your skills and knowledge in saving lives.
Various institutions provide American Heart Association BLS certification. It is, however, crucial to find out if the institution of choice is accredited. People with busy schedules have the option of enrolling in online basic life support classes. Online classes are more convenient, especially during the Covid-19 outbreak, where people are advised to adhere to social distance.