Article By: Claudia Guarnaccia
Yes, you can!
The Michael Hughes Foundation (MHF) is conscious that we are not in a ‘Post COVID-19’ era but more living ‘With COVID-19’. As we have been adjusting and pivoting to the most up to date recommendations and practices, such as social distancing, it’s often asked of us ‘what does this mean in terms of delivering basic first aid?’
Like everyone else, we have had to make necessary alterations to the traditional delivery of first aid and our recommendations to clients, course participants, and the broader community.
In relation to individuals and organisations providing first aid, the number one rule is to always remember to protect yourself. When treating an individual, it is paramount hand hygiene is maintained, such as the use of gloves and hand sanitisation, ensuring protection for all.
There has been much discussion surrounding the use of masks, which has been heightened as Victoria has now made it mandatory. At MHF, we too believe in the use of masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19. We encourage all to purchase P2/N95 face masks (or similarly recommended by health professionals). When performing first aid, it is vital both the patient and responder wear a face mask given they are in close contact with each other. It is strongly urged not to begin any form of treatment if neither have a face mask on, again reiterating personal safety is of the utmost importance.
In a cardiac arrest event and when CPR is required (ie person is unconscious and not breathing) we recommend:
- Hands only chest compressions (no rescue breaths)
- Compressions to 1/3 the depth of the chest
- A compression speed of 100-120 compressions per minute
The above recommendations apply to babies, children (1-8 years) and adults. Defibrillators, if available, are encouraged to be used to support CPR and to attempt to restart the heart.
In serious medical emergencies, we advocate that you do your best and provide aid where it is needed. Although care should also be taken and your personal protection and safety is paramount, we still encourage people to act. We always advocate that any effort is better than no effort all.
In regards to our delivery of first aid training courses, and with a few simple changes, we are continuing to safely provide in-depth in person training and education on first aid “with” COVID-19. Previously courses focussed on infection control practices, but with the new landscape, the what and how of our training has been further enhanced.
All our accredited first aid courses comply with COVID-19 standards, including hygiene and cleanliness, social distancing, amendments to practical assessments and review of participants for their health and wellbeing. Further, our trainers have completed courses accredited by NSW Health and Australian Government in the COVID-19 period.