Why is BLS Training Important for Healthcare Professionals?

Basic life support refers to the assistance professional first responders provide to victims with an obstructed airway, respiratory distress and cardiac arrest. The basic life support courses for health care providers covers skills in CPR among other basic cardiovascular life support skills for in hospital and out of hospital settings. The skills require the knowledge of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), the use of the AED (automated defibrillator) and knowledge on 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 in hospital cardiac arrest is 25%. The AHA believes more can be done to increase the rates of survival. It emphasizes on the need for more people to acquire CPR skills as the best way to ensure high quality CPR.

Healthcare providers are in the front line during 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 the a healthcare provider. These include nurses, doctors and their assistants. CPR skills are critical 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 which include the use of the AED. Whenever a patient experiences cardiac arrest, their families rely on health care workers available to offer the necessary assistance. 

Although they are always in contact with patients, there is a need for healthcare providers to refresh their skills and knowledge in offering first aid to cardiac arrest victims. Studies show that failure to put the skills into practice for a period of six months can compromise on the ability of a rescuer to provide high quality CPR. Research is always ongoing on how to save lives. These findings consistently provide new and improved processes with regard to CPR procedures.

The basic life support classes provide skills in the following areas:

  • The chain of survival (the BLS components)
  • 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 in different ages

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 of 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 certain symptoms common for victims of cardiac arrest. The victim might collapse and fall unconscious. However prior to this, they might experience light-headedness, chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath and difficult breathing. 

The concept of “CAB” applies in basic life support

Healthcare professionals should understand the concept of CAB (Compressions, Airway and Breathing). It refers to the sequence of events in basic life support. The objective behind the CAB concept is 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 checking for a pulse. Wherever in doubt, bystanders should begin CPR. There is little harm likely to occur if the victim is not in need of 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.

High quality CPR 

The quality of CPR provided determines the chances of survival of the victim. Early administration of CPR provides better chances of survival. The CPR procedure differs depending on age. The depth of  chest compressions for infants, children and adults differs. High quality CPR is critical for the survival of the victim and takes into account the following:

  • The rescuer should provide 100 chest compressions per minute. 
  • They should also minimize interruptions between the compressions unless it is to use the AED or change the responder.
  • The depth of chest compressions recommended for adults is 2inches while that of infants is 1.5inches without exceeding 2inches.
  • The responder should also allow for a complete chest recoil between compressions.
  • Interchanging of rescuer when fatigued is also critical in providing high quality CPR 
  • They should also be taking precautions to avoid over-ventilation.

Early use of the AED 

The automated defibrillator (AED) is a critical device in reviving the heart of a cardiac arrest victim. The earlier the AED 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 shock is necessary for that particular case. The most common cause of cardiac arrest is ventricular defibrillation. The condition is reversible by delivering electric shock to the victims 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. Basic life support course provides the individual with skills to effectively relieve victims of choking and offer the necessary treatment. These professionals are expected to effectively take care of victims of different circumstances and provide the necessary treatment. Choking is one of the most common health emergencies. It results from obstructed airway and can potentially lead to cardiac arrest. The treatment for obstruction varies depending on the degree of obstruction and the age of the victim. 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 the individual with skills on how 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. When giving CPR in-hospital cardiac arrest victims, bag-mask ventilation provides similar results as advanced airway interventions. 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. it might result in more complications if the air moves to the victims stomach.  

In most cases, respiratory arrest precedes cardiac arrest. If you are able to 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.

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, which presents 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. 

Healthcare providers 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. AHA guidelines advise follow-up emotional support to hospital-based health workers, emergency responders, and lay rescuers after a cardiac arrest event. Health facilities should assess stressors associated with critically ill patients and conduct a review on team performance and the quality of services they offer.

Where can you take your basic life support certification?

Various institutions provide basic life support certification programs. It is, however, crucial to find out if the institution of choice is accredited. People with busy schedules have an option of enrolling for online basic life support classes. Online classes are more convenient especially during the Covid-19 outbreak where people are being advised to adhere to social distance.

 Enroll Now for Online Basic Life Support Certification Classes at just $44.95.