Author: Candice Gordon
Be Prepared for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest During Covid-19 Lockdown
Australian statistics show over 30,000 cardiac arrests occur within the community each year, 7,500 within NSW alone. With a low survival rate of 9% and with 80% of these incidents occurring within our homes, there is a strong likelihood, that if it occurs, you will be involved in one of these real-life events affecting someone you know and love.
As a result of the current pandemic, we are spending more time at home and now making it our workplace in many instances. We hear questions and concerns such as “can I be prepared if a cardiac arrest were to occur in my home” or critically “can I still perform CPR?” The answer to both questions is emphatically YES!
We are all aware of COVID-19 being highly contagious and the Delta Variant being 1000 times more transmittable than other variants. The pandemic numbers are increasing across all states and more community areas affected. This has led to an increase of personal protective equipment being mandatory to be worn by paramedics to ensure safety for their patients and importantly themselves. Unfortunately, this has increased the additional time delay by up to an estimated 3-5 minutes. We know in cardiac arrest events, every minute counts to reduce time, and it is here where being prepared at a time like this is of greater importance than ever before.
With being aware of this issue, the real question you now need to ask is “are my family, friends and I prepared for such an event?”.
What we encourage as a great start is to have an active conversation with everyone who lives within your residence, including children. This should also include conversations with family, work colleagues working at home and friends over phone, text or even video calls to ensure they are aware of what actions are required:
- A cardiac arrest is when someone is unconscious and not breathing.
- If this is recognised, call 000 immediately. In cardiac arrest emergencies, the 000 operator will remain on the phone with you.
- Commence CPR, pushing on the middle of the chest – Push 1/3 depth of chest and 100-120 compressions a minute. Breaths are optional and Hands Only CPR is OK.
- If there is more than one person present, ascertain if a defibrillator is accessible to use in conjunction with CPR. If not, continue and focus on CPR ONLY. CPR is critical for keeping the person alive and extending the time for emergency services
- Rotate the person doing CPR approximately every 2 minutes to minimise fatigue and improve the effectiveness of chest compression’s, if possible – Any attempt at CPR is better than no attempt at all.
- Continue CPR and defibrillation (if available) until emergency services arrive. It is important that you don’t stop, if possible.
Although we attempt to improve confidence and the effectiveness of resuscitation, we cannot prepare you for where you will be and what support you will have available.
When speaking with the 000 operator, it is important to remain calm, answer their questions, provide as much detail as possible and ensure you aware of your cross street! This is a question they will ask!
Did you know by directly calling triple 000 from the Emergency+ App, it provides accurate information for the 000 operator. By using this app, your direct GPS location is displayed on your device, where you can communicate and share information enabling accurate and quicker response times by ambulance and additional emergency personal where required.
For heart attacks, the person will be conscious and breathing but experiencing symptoms (eg crushing pain in chest, sweating, nausea, etc). You must call 000 immediately for urgent medical assistance and closely monitor the patient until emergency services arrive.
It is important for community first responders to protect themselves during this time. Personal protection should be used/maintained including CPR masks that cover the mouth and nose (if breaths are being administered), gloves and good hand hygiene.
Remembering that a cardiac arrest can occur anywhere, at any time and without warning, starting the first four links to the Cardiac Chain of Survival quickly and effectively increases the chance of survival from a cardiac arrest from less than 9% to more than 60% when these chain links are aligned.
So now, let us reflect and ask you:
- Are you prepared if a cardiac arrest was to occur in your home?
- Do you feel comfortable to perform CPR in the event of a cardiac arrest?
ONLINE TRAINING – Even though face to face training cannot be provided at this current time, the Michael Hughes Foundation can deliver online information session. If interested please click Contact and send the team a message.
FIRST AID TRAINING – Wanting to turn yourself from a bystander into a confident first responder? Or need to refresh your first aid training? Click on the first aid training link to see the course the Michael Hughes Foundation has to offer.
DEFIBRILLATORS & PACKAGES – The Michael Hughes Foundation provide a range of individual defibrillators or packages for purchase that can be set up in the home, in a work place, on a site location or as a mobile unit.