The 2015 American Heart Association emergency cardiac care and CPR guidelines highlight how quick action, proper training, technology upgrades and teamwork can increase cardiac arrest survival. In addition, the AHA has released an annual snapshot of heart disease statistics for the first time in 50 years covering both domestic and global data. Of the 326,000 people who experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) each year only 10.6 percent survive, despite EMS efforts.
Improving OHCA survival is a challenge for every EMS agency. The new AHA guidelines are a foundation of evidence-based methods to garner the necessary funds to assist your community in surviving OHCA. Here are three ways to get started.
1. Collaborate with the community
"Everyone has a role to play in the chain of survival — from bystanders to dispatchers, emergency responders to health care providers," said Dr. Mark A. Creager, president, American Heart Association.
The AHA is focused on the Chain of Survival with immediate high-quality CPR being a crucial link in the chain. OHCA patients who receive bystander CPR after a witnessed collapse have a 31.4 percent chance of survival. Leverage this recommendation into grant awards for your community through free hands-only bystander CPR classes.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are awarded every year for organizations showing measurable impacts on the improving health care services to a community. Large corporations, such as Wal-Mart and Johnson & Johnson have grant programs specifically aligned with health care initiatives.
When looking for your best options for a hands-only CPR training project partner with other stakeholders within the community who have the most interest and money to invest. In 2014, the city of Richmond, Virginia, was awarded a grant for a Hands-Only CPR kit that trained over 3,000 people.
2. Teamwork training
Effective teamwork during CPR is critical to improving patient outcomes. This is reflected in the AHA's emphasis on high-quality CPR or pit crew CPR, involving dispatchers to give pre-arrival CPR instructions, and a regionalized approach to OHCA resuscitation.
High-priority areas for grant makers include training that reaches a large population through regional efforts. Training programs that target underserved or rural areas where chances of survival are the least and often the largest challenge for EMS can be helped through grant funds. Look at opportunities from the Rural Assistance Center and other grant makers who target the health and wellness of underserved populations.
For large, regional projects the Assistance to Firefighter Grant program and other statewide funding through the Department of Health and Human Services are likely candidates for funding regional CPR initiatives. Recently an Iowa health care system was awarded $100,000 through a local charitable trust for a community-based initiative aiming to improve the team effort to improve OHCA survival.
3. Upgrade technology and equipment
Technological upgrades to patient care equipment, like defibrillators and mechanical compression devices, software for tracking patient outcomes and quality assurance initiatives, and training simulators to practice pit-crew CPR are by the most requested funds through grants at EMSGrantsHelp.com.
Use of a training simulator is a best practice to learn to deliver compressions of proper rate and depth with full chest recoil. High- and low-fidelity simulators can also assist in team training!
Early defibrillation and rhythm recognition is a key to improving survival according to the new guidelines and statistics. For rural agencies the Rural Access to Emergency Devices Grant Program is a great option. Look to the Assistance to Firefighter Grant program and local resources for funding as well for public access AEDs.
The 2015 AHA CPR guidelines reaffirm continuous quality improvement for resuscitation programs through database systems, software improvements and live feedback programs. The Ohio Department of Public Safety has an EMS Grant devoted to purchasing of equipment. A similar grant may be available in your state's department of health and human services.
The AHA is looking to EMS providers, leaders and innovators to continue the upward trend of increased survival from OHCA. Utilize grant funding to update your cardiac arrest response program.
Learn more about the 2015 AHA CPR guidelines with these resources and articles: