Telephone CPR is a procedure wherein a 911 operator assists the caller in identifying cardiac arrest by means of a short script and gives “just-in-time” instructions and directions on how to perform CPR.
According to the American Heart Association more than 350,000 individuals suffer from sudden cardiac arrest yearly on the outside of the hospital. When sudden cardiac arrest happens, immediate recognition, early activation of 911 and early CPR, with emphasis on chest compressions are actions required of the trained or untrained bystander that can help save lives. Without these immediate actions death is imminent.
The spouse of Minnesota lawmaker Julie Standstede experienced sudden cardiac arrest in 2011. It was through the guidance of the 911 operator a bystander was able to save his life after the dispatcher had directed the ambulance the wrong way.
Both the bystander and the operator play a critical role in the first two links in the chain of survival. However, less than half of all call centers provide CPR instructions.
American Heart Association has implemented a quality program in Telephone CPR training (T-CPR training). Telephone CPR focuses on how to recognize cardiac arrest over the phone, taking control of a scene without physical presence, and giving clear instructions.
These trainings are important because they are designed to guide operators on small things to improve on their quality of instructions. Bystanders are informed that they will be GUIDED through performing CPR rather than being asked DO THEY KNOW how to perform CPR.
This small but very important modification reduces bystander anxiety empowering them to take action until EMS arrives. As a direct result bystander CPR rates will improve saving numerous lives such as those in low income and rural areas where ambulance response times are worse.
The American Heart Association has been lobbying for ALL STATES to adopt Telephone-CPR training. Democratic lawmakers has PROPOSED legislation in Minnesota that requires all 911 operators to be trained in T-CPR. The states of Louisiana, Kentuky, Wisconsin, Indiana, West Virginia, and Maryland ALREADY REQUIRE their 911 operators to be trained in telephone CPR.
American Heart Association has committed to doubling Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest survival rate by the year 2020. Per Dr. Michael kurz, Chairman of the American Heart Association Telecommunication CPR Task “The most immediate method to improve survival from OOHCA is to improve bystander CPR rates.”
These T-CPR training will be a three to four hours initial training and a YEARLY refresher which will undeniably help in improving the survival rates of cardiac arrest emergencies occurring outside-of-the-hospital. Besides that it is always a good idea to learn CPR by registering to a CPR class taking place nearby. Because together we can #savelives.