Last month the American Heart Association updated the guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care. Previously, the guidelines have been updated every five years, but now they will be changed to a web-based format that will be kept constantly up-to-date.
This is an important resource for any senior caregiver. Here's some information about what's new and what you can expect from the guidelines going forward.
Continuous Quality Improvement
A new section added to this year's guidelines addresses the ongoing care process which would help people return to normal, productive life after experiencing cardiac arrest. One interesting piece of research to come out of the AHA's studies pertained to the use of social media. The researchers broadcasted a cardiac arrest or similar situation over various forms of social media and found that instances of bystander-initiated CPR rose to 62 percent compared to 48 percent in the control group.
This system has great potential moving forward. According to Pew Research Center, the number of seniors who use social media has increased over the last several years. Imagine if an older adult who is experiencing chest pains would be able to not only call emergency services but also press a button on their cell phone that alerted their social media feeds of the problem. Nearby friends and family would be able to rush to the scene and start CPR while they wait for the ambulance to arrive. Such a system could take many years to catch on, but the potential is clear.
The AHA's finding also supported the continued use of public-access defibrillators. The organization highly recommended that communities with high populations of people at risk for cardiac arrest consider installing defibrillators in easily accessible areas.
The association further stated that the rate of out of hospital cardiac arrest survival and the current advances in science and medicine do not line up. The main problem is that the average citizen does not have enough knowledge about CPR to successfully resuscitate someone in danger. For senior caregivers, this means that now is the time to receive education about proper CPR techniques and procedures.
The new guidelines made several revisions and updated recommendations to the education system surrounding CPR training. For caregivers who are likely to see someone with cardiac arrest, the association suggested re-training courses that are more frequent than the typical two-year cycle. And working with a CPR feedback device proved to be much more beneficial to the learning process than just a standard mannequin. It also reiterated the recommendation that CPR training include information about properly using an automatic external defibrillator.
Senior caregivers should always be on the lookout for ways to improve their knowledge about potential emergencies. Oftentimes it is not the goal of CPR to save a person's life - though that is one possible outcome - but rather to sustain the person until emergency services can arrive. By doing so, they increase the likelihood of recovery.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living