When a person is handicap, he or she may have a physical or mental condition that prevents them from performing the same daily task that people who are not handicap do. Moreover, the handicap person has various levels of disabilities. Depending on the level of disability, there are certain aspects that permits the handicap person to take part in.
When it comes to sports, special Olympics allows for the handicap person to partake with other handicap people in a competitive nature. However, when a person is sick and need assistance from a handicap person (who is the only person in the room), the levels of handicap is challenged, depending on the level of help needed.
Can the handicap person help someone who is in need? Can the handicap person help someone who is suffering from cardiac arrest or is bleeding? Quite possibly, the handicap person can call 911 but what about performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)?
Performing CPR for the physically handicap can be difficult, but for some, it is not impossible. Therefore, handicapped people must be trained on the life-saving skills of CPR and activating 911. The results turn out to be an effort, rather than doing nothing. Thus, how do we train handicap people to perform CPR?
Handicap people are not dumb. He and she may appear to be physically and mentally incapable of abstract thought or making split-second decisions, but the truth is, inside, handicap people are just like everybody else. An example would be Dr. Stephen Hawkins who is a man born without disability but later in life became disabled due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that effect nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Dr. Hawkins is physically unable to assist someone who needs CPR, but with the advancement in technology, he can summon help through the 911 system. So, what about those handicap people who can assist with CPR but are unable to position the victim on a hard surface?
When a person needs CPR, and he or she is found on a bed or sofa, the proper procedure is to remove them from that soft surface and place them on a hard surface. For some handicap people, removing a person from a soft surface to a hard surface is impossible. When handicap people realize that they cannot reposition the victim, they give up without trying anything.
When a person heart stops, he or she needs CPR. Therefore, when the handicap person is unable to move the victim to a hard surface, he or she can perform CPR on the victim as they lay on a soft surface. Be sure to call 911 but understand that doing something is better than doing nothing. The energy requirement for CPR is great, and the handicap may not be able to maintain their resuscitative efforts. However, keep trying by doing your best until help arrive. The handicap rescuer will not be penalized if he or she becomes exhausted and discontinue.
One other observation with the handicap is that most believe that mouth to mouth is a necessity. The hesitation to do mouth to mouth turns out to be a hesitation for chest compressions as well. The handicap can be assured that mouth to mouth is not a primary function in this type of situation. Chest compressions are sufficient, and when Advance Life Support (ALS) arrives, total treatment will be established.
The handicap is also shy of the possibility of breaking a person’s ribs. If a person’s heart stops and CPR is started, the possibility of breaking ribs does exist. The victim does not feel the ribs breaking. Therefore, to establish artificial blood flow; chest compressions must be started and maintained until ALS arrives or exhaustion of the rescuer occurs.
Handicap people are just like everybody else but with mental or physical differences. He and she should not be considered unacceptable. They can make a difference in one way or the other. Therefore, handicap people should not be regarded as totally helpless. Everyone should take a moment to consider the possibilities that handicap people can offer to society and to a person in need of medical attention.
Handicap people must be trained in CPR, either by modified tactics or just like other people. The subtle or abrupt changes that may be required is worth the effort to save a person’s life. So, step forward for the handicap and trust that all is not lost.