Sunday, May 26th, 2024

KIMS Hospital Teaches CPR For Free – How YOU Could Save A Life

Approximately 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are called in to 999 every year, Over 80% of which happen at home.Of that number, little over8% survive.

Pause for a second to let that shockingly gloomy statistic sink in.

Did you know that if CPR is started within those first crucial few minutes, the survival rate can increase up to 70?

Let’s not downplay it because that is, quite literally, the difference between life and death.
CPR can be delivered by anybody… that’s right, no fancy qualifications needed. Just knowing the simple technique means YOU have the power to turn the odds around. YOU have the power to save a life.

Performing CPR – what are people afraid of?

KIMS Hospital has a programme of educational events which they roll out to the local community. Believing that CPR is an important, life-saving skill that everyone should know, last month Sevenoaks Medical Centre, which is part of KIMS Hospital, hosted a free drop-in community event to teach CPR skills.

The training was led by Jamie Morrison, Clinical Skills and Lead Resuscitation Officer at Sevenoaks Medical Centre. Here’s what we learned from her…

The most common reasons that prevent a person from performing CPR are:

  • Lack of confidence (even if they’ve had training in the past).
  • Fear of causing the person more harm.
  • Fear of performing mouth-to-mouth.
  • Fear of being sued.

Workshops like this aim to give people more confidence and with regards to the ‘fears’ we mentioned, Jamie imparts some truths: you don’t need to perform mouth-to-mouth, the hands-only CPR (chest compressions) is effective for those initial few minutes until the ambulance crew arrives. and regarding being sued, no such action has ever been brought against someone who performed CPR.

Jamie tells us not to worry about causing the person more harm because, “ that person’s heart has stopped working – they are clinically dead. You can’t make them more dead. Either they stay dead, or you give them the chance to survive.”

CPR (hands only) – step-by-step

The thing that really stood out to us was just how straight forward it is. Yes, it’s exhausting and yes, in reality it would be a highly stressful situation BUT the technique isn’t hard to learn. When someone’s life is at stake, the pros outweigh the cons every single time.

Using a life-sized human manikin, which Jamie had affectionately named Mary, we were walked through a step-by-step demonstration before giving it a go for ourselves.
If you’re ever in a situation where you suspect someone has gone into cardiac arrest, here’s what you should do.

1.) Try and wake the person.

2.) If there’s no response – get help. Don’t leave them – either shout for someone close by to call 999 for an ambulance or call them yourself and put the call on loudspeaker so you can start CPR. An ambulance could take 8-9 minutes to arrive but by then it could be too late, so it’s crucial to get started.

3.) Position the person so they’re laying down on their back and so you can kneel next to them.

4.) Open their airway by placing one hand on the forehead and two fingers of the other hand under the chin. Lift the chin up the sky. Look, Listen and Feel for normal breathing for 10 seconds. If breathing is absent start chest compressions.

5.) Get into a position where your shoulders are directly over your hands. Placing one hand over the other in the centre of the person’s chest

6.) Use your body weight to press down until you feel resistance then release the compression.

7.) Repeat this over and over, to the beat of ‘Staying Alive’ – ‘ah ah ah ah’. This is roughly 2 compressions per second. These compressions mimic what the heart would be doing, i.e. moving blood and oxygen around the body.

8.) Continue compressions until the ambulance arrives. If someone else is there, you can take it in turns.

Using a defibrillator

It’s a common myth that this piece of kit is reserved for professionals. There’s training you can undertake – and if that makes you feel confident then go for it – but you don’t need to.

If you’re on your own, don’t leave the person to find one – start your CPR compressions. If someone is with you, you can send them to find one. Familiarise yourself with the public access defibrillators in your area with this handy tool by Defib Finder.

Once switched on, the defibrillator device will actually speak loudly to you with clear instructions – “Call 999, Apply to pads to patient’s bare chest etc. You simply attach the sticky pads to the body, as shown on the picture in the defibrillator, and follow the instructions.

You can’t accidently shock the person either – the device is able to tell whether a shock is needed. We held our breath when Jamie demonstrated this by attaching the pads to her own body and pressing the ‘shock’ button. No shock was delivered because the device checked her heart rhythm.

Where to find further information on CPR

The Resuscitation Council UK website holds a plethora of useful information including “Learn CPR with Connor Swindells, more information on defibrillators and Lifesaver Learning which is an interactive game where people can learn or practice CPR at home or work.

Similarly, the British Heart Foundation and the NHS website are both good resources with easy-to-follow instructions.

Keep an eye for more events like this by following the KIMS Hospital Events page.

16th October 2023 will be the annual ‘Restart A Heart Day’ and the Welsh Ambulance Service launched a ‘Defibruary’ campaign that runs through February every year.

By Ruby Plenderleith

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