What’s new in CPR? A quick look at the 2015 AHA Guidelines for Lay-Rescuers (Heartsaver)

Happy Guidelines Update!

For the last 15 years, the AHA has updated the CPR Guidelines based on research and feedback from students and instructors, every 5 years.  This year, 2015, is the latest update.  What does this mean for you, the CPR provider/student?  (Keep in mind, these changes will not be reflected in classes until 2016 when instructors receive the new materials and your current certification/training will remain valid for the entire 2 year term).

Here is a quick overview of some of the changes for the Lay-Rescuer (Heartsaver):

  1.  When calling for help, you can use the Speaker function on your cellphone.  This makes the response quicker as you do not have to leave the victim’s side to get help.  While you are on the phone with 9-1-1, have a bystander go and get the AED.
  2. The depth of compressions for the adult patient has been narrowed to at least 2″, but no more than 2.5.”  While pushing deeper has not been shown to cause harm, it is exhausting for the rescuer.
  3. While pushing, make sure you keep in contact with the chest, but be careful to Not Lean!  (This really isn’t a change, more of a refinement of the language instructors will use to emphasis chest recoil).
  4. Your rate has also been refined.  Instead of “at least 100 compressions per minute,” it is now “between 100 and 120 compressions per minute.”  If you have been in one of our classes, you will recognize this range.  Ever since we read several studies that highlighted the efficacy of the 120 cpm, our instructors have been using that speed.  So, our students – you have already done this.
  5. If you see an un-trained person giving Hands-Only CPR (compressions without breaths), please take over and, using appropriate CPR barriers, begin CPR with breaths.  While Hands-Only CPR is ok when you do not have a mask/face shield, the victim really needs breaths for the best chance of survival.
  6. The AHA has acknowledged that the 2-year training cycle is too long.  This may mean that, in future, you will need to re-certify annually.  We have not been told anything definite one way or the other, but, brace yourself, you may need to re-certify annually.

As instructors receive our new teaching materials, further refinements will no doubt be made, but, in the meantime, students, relax.  The changes are not earth-shattering.  Instead, these refinements signal the start of a new era in training where refinements and not massive changes will be used to continually improve CPR efficacy.

See you in your next CPR class.   Here is a link to our website where you can sign-up for your next class or Skills Session.

(See our other blog posts on Heartsaver First Aid)

About sescpr

This is the Official Blog of Safety Education Specialists. An Authorized American Heart Association Training Site located in Virginia, USA. www.ses911.com for all our course listings and information.
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