Next up in the news for paramedics and EMTs is a look at how dispatch assisted CPR is improving outcomes for cardiac arrest patients across the country. In Washington County, Oregon, dispatchers have been giving hands-only CPR instructions to bystanders at cardiac arrests since 2011. They have seen a huge increase in positive outcomes for their system’s cardiac arrest saves since that was added to the dispatch protocol there.

Bystander CPR Saves Lives

CPR ResuscitationThe system there estimates they helped save 31 additional lives in 2014 based on bystander CPR instructions to 911 callers. The leadership in Washington County were surprised in the number of saves attributed to bystander hands-only CPR in their area. There is definitely an improvement over those systems who are not giving hands-only instructions like they used to in Washington County.

When you try and counsel a caller to give mouth to mouth or to assess breathing there is a disconnect and resistance to continue the process. However, to instruct someone to push hard and fast in the center of the breastbone over the phone is easy and much less likely to receive resistance.

There have been occasions where compressions were not needed but in those instances there were no serious injuries to the patients. This shows that we can do more to educate the whole public on what to do on those occasions where someone suddenly collapses in front of them.

This is not just a dispatcher education moment. You can do hands-only CPR training in about 3-5 minutes anywhere. So take a manikin, talk to your local supermarket and ask to set up a table outside their entrance. Get your local fast food stores to offer a free small ice cream to everyone that learns CPR. Be creative.

All of this ends up making our jobs easier when we go to cardiac arrest calls because we are more likely to have CPR in progress when we arrive and more likely to have a patient saved by the teamwork between the community and EMS.


Follow up on the links to this news item and all the other articles and resources in this week’s episode show notes – Mobile Integrated Healthcare Update and Episode 440.



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