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CPR Resuscitation Academy Improves Cardiac Arrest Outcomes

Cleo Subido, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Program Administrator, and her team at Public Health - Seattle & King County are committed to training emergency dispatch administrators through a program called the Resuscitation Academy.

November 29, 2011

"King County 911. What is your emergency?"

"My dad... he's... he collapsed and fell to the ground. He's breathing, but he's not responding."

"Does anyone there know CPR?"

"No."

"Okay, I'm going to give you some instructions..."

If someone is in cardiac arrest, the timing of these first few exchanges and the instructions that follow can mean the difference between life and death. This is why Cleo Subido, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Program Administrator, and her team at Public Health - Seattle & King County are so committed to training emergency dispatch administrators through a program called the Resuscitation Academy.

"There are many 911 dispatchers who still do not give CPR instructions.  Also, some dispatchers can give instructions, but do not recognize when to give them. This is basically the purpose of the Resuscitation Academy.  We want to give agencies the information and tools they need to have a fully effective program that will increase their ability to recognize when to give the instructions, what instructions to give, and how to do all this very quickly. The end goal is to improve survival rates.

Subido emphasizes, "Every system needs to assess its cardiac arrest response protocols and work towards constantly improving them.  King County is available to give EMS departments whatever they need to do this."

On November 9, Subido and her team held a one-day Resuscitation Academy in Seattle. EMS chiefs, medical directors, dispatch administrators, and other decision-makers from across the state of Washington, as well as Montana, Arizona, and Florida, attended. The intensive workshop included lectures, case reviews, small group discussions, and hands-on dispatcher-assisted CPR training.

"We explain the science of CPR—why we give the instructions we give, the importance of timing in giving the instructions, and how 911 dispatchers affect cardiac arrest outcomes," Subido said. "People are so thrilled to understand this. They leave with all the tools and resources they need to start their own dispatcher-assisted CPR program."

The Resuscitation Academy has benefited from collaborating with NWCPHP by incorporating CPR instructions for individuals with limited-English proficiency (LEP) into their training. Subido explained, "We discuss the LEP instructions when we cover the dispatcher-assisted instructions. We explain they are optional bullet points to use if the dispatcher feels he or she is not understood by the caller." Researchers from Public Health - Seattle & King County and NWCPHP developed the LEP CPR instructions based on information gathered from focus groups with Chinese and Latino LEP populations.

The Resuscitation Academy is resulting in impressive outcomes. Seattle and King County have the highest survival rate for witnessed cardiac arrest in the world—46 percent. Survival rates for witnessed cardiac arrests in other communities in the US are surprisingly low: Los Angeles has a seven percent survival rate, New York City has a five percent rate, and Chicago has a three percent rate.

Visit the Resuscitation Academy website for more information about upcoming courses and to download their free toolkits.

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