CPR is a life-saving technique used to revive an individual who has had a sudden cardiac arrest. Often defibrillator is also used to shock the heart and return the heartbeats to its normal state.
Cardiac arrest is caused when there is a sudden electric malfunction in the heart. This causes the lower chamber of the heart to beat irregularly (known as arrhythmias) which in turn, disrupts the blood flow. Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If not treated immediately, it can result into death within minutes. Considering the urgency in such cases, CPR is usually required to be administered someone near the person at the time.
Emergencies can happen anywhere at any time. In USA alone, cardiac arrests have significantly increased over the last few years with over 350,000 reported annually happening outside of hospital settings. Hence, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a one of most essential skills required to have for anyone who has to interact with people.
Some professions demand having a CPR certification in order to qualify for a job in the field. These professions include careers in any sort of medical field (these are usually mandatory), childcare provider, nannies, babysitters, lifeguards, jail and prison personnel, athletic coaches and trainers, personal trainers, physical therapists, firefighters, flight attendants and counselors. However, it is highly essential for school teachers, school staff and parents to know CPR as well as they have children and families under their care on a daily basis.
CPR training is provided by various institutes. Some of the approved training institutes are American Health Institute, American Red Cross and American Heart Association. There are three modes of training available for CPR:
Classroom Training Program
This is the traditional mode of training and perhaps one of the best. The candidate receives training in a classroom setting where they can watch the trainer perform CPR and get hands-on practice. They can even ask questions right away and clear any doubts. This works best for kinesthetic type of learners!
Online Training Program
Several institutes offer CPR training online at a significantly low cost. Ideal for those who are not comfortable with a classroom environment for learning or for busy moms or working dads or for those who do not have any training program in a nearby location that would offer training at a suitable time. Whilst it is an advantage to be able to access the course in the comfort of one’s home and at one’s preferred timings, online courses do not offer hand-on or clinical practice.
One must ensure that the online program chosen is an approved and accredited program.
Blended Training Program
This is a flexible option where the theoretical part is covered online and the practical part is covered in a classroom setting.
The training duration and cost depends on the mode of training chosen. Most online courses cost approximately USD 25 – 30. Classroom programs vary from USD 45 – 120 depending on the type of training chosen.
As mentioned earlier, CPR is essential for people working in various environments, including parents, teachers and nannies. There are different types of CPR training conforming to the various requirements:
Standard CPR Program
Also known as CPR for a layperson, this program is for general workplace first aid teams, who are not in a healthcare field. It concentrates on providing CPR to adults only and includes the use of AED (Automated External Defibrillator). It can take up to 4 hours to complete. Most workplaces require their employees to learn this and may even sponsor the training for them.
CPR for Children and Infants
The second level of CPR is a similar training program specialized for administering children and infants and the use of AED for those who work with children. This training may take up to 5 hours to complete.
CPR for professional rescuers
This level of CPR training program is a more comprehensive one that combines CPR for adults and children. This program is taught to professionals like lifeguards, firefighters and police. The duration if approximately 5 hours.
CPR for Healthcare providers (HCP)
These are advance CPR programs which are a necessity to those working in the healthcare field such as nurses, firefighters, physicians, paramedics, etc. The program includes CPR for adults, children and infants. It also includes other detailed procedures apart from the use of AED (Automated External Defibrillator). This course can be completed in about 6 – 7 hours of training.
The most popular training institutes for CPR are the American Red cross and American Heart Association.
American Red Cross provides affordable training using all three modes of training. The online courses are cheaper than the classroom and blended ones. They provide three general training programs: CPR for schools, CPR for work employees and a more comprehensive program called CPR for healthcare providers.
The American Heart Association provides general CPR programs such as:
Heartsaver CPR AED and Heartsaver FirstAid CPR AED which cater to the general public and workplace employees.
Their more specialized programs include:
Basic Life Support (BLS) CPR and AED Training for Healthcare professionals
This training is geared for health care practitioners who handle emergency medical conditions on a regular basis.
Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ALS)
This level builds on the foundation of BLS. The training includes diagnosis and treating immediate post-cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary arrest, acute dysrhythmia, acute coronary syndromes and stroke as well as the importance of high performance team dynamics and communication.
Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
This course trains individuals to improve the quality of care provided to seriously ill or injured children and reinforces the important concepts of systematic approach to pediatric assessment, effective resuscitation and team dynamics.