Kicking off the news for nurses this week is a look at how public perception is affecting responses to sudden cardiac arrest out of the hospital. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation has conducted a national baseline study to determine the extent to which the public is aware of sudden cardiac arrest, CPR, and automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
Cardiac Arrest and CPR Education
They examined past studies and then conducted a new one with a random study of 1,000 U.S. citizens from all over and then looked at 200 people from King County, Washington. The second group was chosen because of the successful efforts there to raise public awareness about cardiac arrest, CPR, and AEDs. What they found was that, although sudden cardiac arrest is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S., most people don’t seem to care that much about or know that much about the subject.
The survey also identified top barriers to bystander CPR including a desire not to hurt the patient, lack of confidence in skills, and liability concerns. These points and this study shows a huge deficit in our public education efforts on the part of the health care and public health industry. Since often nurses teach many of these classes for the public and are among the most trusted professionals out there, we need to step up our efforts in educating the public.
Talk to your patients about CPR. Encourage new parents to get trained in not just infant CPR but adult CPR, too. Offer family CPR classes for those who have a loved one with a new diagnosis of heart attack or heart disease. Be proactive and reach out to your community leaders. Teach them about this study and encourage them to work with your facility or public health agency to improve CPR class uptake and public education. If we don’t get the bystanders educated, then cardiac arrest will still remain a huge public health problem.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Mercy Street Civil War Nurses and Episode 380.