Every year there are probably hundreds of people who die out in the community simply because those around them do not have the skills, or the confidence to open an airway or initiate basic life support (BLS) interventions, or operate a public automated external defibrillator ( AED).
that’s ELS not BLS.
The ability to provide effective BLS (or, as it should perhaps be known essential life support) and the familiarity to be confident enough to use an AED if it is indicated, is such an important part of the chain of survival.
Effectively performed chest compressions can sustain the heart in a defibrllatable rhythm for an extra 10 to 12 minutes, and early defibrillation is the most effective intervention we can perform to increase survival in cardiac arrest.
What about opening an obstructed airway?
It is that initial response-ability of those first on scene that makes all the difference to the long term outcome of the victim.
Currently, many courses that teach BLS (eg St Johns Ambulance, Red Cross and many others) charge a fee (around $65 – 70) which although small, in toady’s economic environment, may dissuade many who might otherwise be keen to learn these skills.
I think that the provision of regular, accessable andÂ free BLS training to the general public is an important community service that all public hospitals should participate in.
Such a program might include:
- Adult and paediatric BLS.
- Management of a choking adult/child.
- Use of public AEDâ€™s.
- Practical aspects of dealing with a medical emergency, including what info to give when dialing emergency services, what paramedics might want to know when they arrive etc.
BLS is a team effort. Such a course could give tips on working together with others during any resuscitation attempts.
Such a course could also be linked into existing hospital cardiac rehab programs, teaching family and friends of cardiac patients a BLS skill-set that might help improve their confidence in caring for family members.
After all, this is not rocket science.
And who better to pass on these simple skills than doctors and nurses who have extensive practical experience in it’s actual application.
Call for help:
In order to provide free and easy access to training, and to raise the overall public competency in BLS, I am currently working towards getting such a course up and running at my own hospital.
So… If there is anyone who has knowledge of any similar sort of program that is already up and running at their own hospital, I would love to hear from you.
Specifically, I would like information on what sort of content the program contains, how often it runs and what sort of success it may have achieved.
BLS training. It is one of those things that can produce a very valuable return for a relatively small effort.