3 Important Changes That Impact How CPR Is Performed By Non-Medical Personnel

If it has been a while since you took CPR classes or you have never had the opportunity to become certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, there are some crucial new guidelines about it that you should know. In recent years, there have been important changes in how CPR can safely be given by non-medical persons. In fact, there have been changes made to this important practice in 2011, 2014 and then again in 2015. That means that even if your certification is current, the information you have may not be, so it's a good idea to take the CPR classes again with an organization like Respond First Aid Systems.

#1- Don't Try To Find A Pulse

When time is of the essence, it is no longer a good idea to waste precious moments trying to find a person's pulse, since it is easy to make a mistake while doing so.

Instead, it is now recommended to assess the following to see if someone needs CPR:

  • Breath

  • Movement

  • Response to stimulation 

If you do not see the person's chest moving to indicate breathing, if they are not making independent movements and no response is given when the patient is asked a question or prodded, CPR should be started.

#2- You Don't Have To Worry About Providing Breaths

If you know the rule of providing five chest compressions to every breath, but are not comfortable doing so, it is time to retake the CPR classes. Researchers now believe that the average person has enough oxygen in their blood at any given time to survive for a few minutes without actually breathing. If you take the time to provide breaths, especially since you are not an expert at doing it, that is time that comes away from forcing the heart to beat.

When the heart doesn't beat, the blood with the all-important oxygen goes nowhere... and so will the person needing CPR. Therefore, unless you are comfortable doing so and have received appropriate training, do not provide oxygen and simply do your best to keep their heart beating.

#3- Know How To Save A Baby

If giving CPR to an adult is a little intimidating, giving it to a baby can be terrifying. It may be a little easier when you know to use two thumbs, as opposed to the previous recommendation of two fingers, to provide chest compressions.

In conclusion, CPR is a safe and effective way to provide oxygen to people who cannot breathe on their own. It is important to stay up to date with new CPR recommendations as they occur, since new information can improve both the results and safety associated with cardiopulmonary resuscitation. What you know or don't know can literally be the difference between life and death for someone one day.