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"Smart" Manikin Assists Researchers

If a person calls 911 to report someone whose breathing or heartbeat has stopped, 911 dispatchers are trained to help the caller start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Giving callers step-by-step CPR instructions over the phone while professional help is on its way saves many lives each year. But what should 911 dispatchers do when callers are limited English proficient (LEP)?
"Smart" Manikin Assists Researchers

This summer a "smart" manikin will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the bystander CPR. In this photo: Hsio-Ying Lo and Sarah Paliulis.

July 15, 2010

If a person calls 911 to report someone whose breathing or heartbeat has stopped, 911 dispatchers are trained to help the caller start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Giving callers step-by-step CPR instructions over the phone while professional help is on its way saves many lives each year. But what should 911 dispatchers do when callers are limited English proficient (LEP)?

This summer, NWCPHP researchers will partner with organizations such as Casa Latina, the Chinese Information and Service Center, and Language Line to compare different communication guidelines for telephone-assisted CPR. The guidelines tested include giving simplified CPR instructions, using a phone interpreter service, and providing dispatcher elaboration (offering other words and phrases when callers don’t seem to understand directions). Previous interviews and in-depth focus groups with Chinese and Latino immigrants who are LEP, as well as King County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) dispatchers and medical leadership informed the development of the communication guidelines to be tested.

The experiment that researchers will conduct this summer involves simulating a 911 call for an imagined cardiac arrest. An off-duty 911 dispatcher will give directions over the phone to LEP participants who will then perform CPR on a "smart" manikin that can record information such as compression depth and rate, and hand placement. Later this year, this same experiment will be conducted with native English speakers. A total of 198 participants will be enrolled in the study.

The researchers involved in the study recently presented at APCO (Association of Public Safety Communications Officials) in Wenatchee. They also plan to share an update of their project at the Joint Conference on Health in Yakima this October.

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