With 13% of the adults in Charleston County and 16% in South Carolina reporting fair or poor health, CPR certification emerges not only as a vital skill but as a lifeline. The need for CPR training and certification is emphasized in Charleston, where the community’s health matters deeply.
Proper CPR education equips individuals with the necessary knowledge and techniques crucial to respond to sudden cardiac arrests and similar scenarios. Based on AHA’s recent scientific analysis, 65% of US citizens have received CPR training at some point in their lifetime, but only 18% of them are up-to-date with their training.
Whether you are a healthcare professional, a first responder, or just someone interested in being prepared for emergencies, we aim to shed light on the significance of staying up-to-date with your CPR skills. As we delve into it, we will explore why regular CPR recertification matters for everyone in Charleston.
Why CPR Skills Require Maintenance
Effective CPR performance in an emergency requires you to refresh your memory and revive your skills after a while. If you are unsure why you should renew your CPR certification, let’s explore the key factors to consider.
Muscle Memory – a Crucial Aspect of Effective CPR
CPR isn’t just about pushing on someone’s chest. It involves understanding the physiology of the human body. Effective chest compressions during cardiac arrest, with sufficient rate and depth, significantly increase the chances of survival.
However, studies indicate a decrease in the psychomotor memory of CPR providers within months of training. During CPR, they often deliver chest compressions without knowing their effectiveness. Deterioration of chest compressions has been reported to occur within 6 months to a year after training, implying muscle memory loss. The scientific hypothesis suggests that the degradation of muscle memory comes even faster in real-life practice.
Regular CPR recertification and training are crucial for the prevention of this tendency.
CPR has been a topic of great scientific and clinical interest in the past decade. With less than 10% of sudden cardiac arrest victims being rescued and brought back to normal daily routines, new approaches to cardiac resuscitation are often explored and discussed.
CPR guidelines are updated every five years, with multiple changes being brought in the past decade. The primary purpose of the amendments is improved safety for both sides, accessibility, simplicity of the process, and more. Let’s look into a few examples that showcase the importance of regular guideline updates and why regular CPR recertification matters.
Shifting To C-A-B
The 2010 CPR Guidelines brought about a significant change in the order of CPR steps. Instead of the traditional A-B-C sequence, focused on airway and breathing before chest compressions, the American Heart Association introduced a new approach: C-A-B.
The change is rooted in the fact that an average person can hold their breath for a minute or two without suffering from any brain damage, much like how the victims of cardiac arrest can go a minute or two, or even longer, without taking a breath. In case of emergency, they need a quick recovery of blood flow.
The A-B-C practice proved itself inefficient, often leading to delays while the rescuer worked on opening the airway, making a seal, and potentially looking for a CPR mask. With the latest C-A-B approach, chest compressions are initiated much sooner, with an insignificant delay in ventilation of approximately 18 seconds until the first series of 30 chest compressions is done.
Mouth-to-Mouth Is No Longer Recommended
In addition to chest compressions, the mouth-to-mouth breathing technique was recommended until not too long ago. In 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AHA changed the guidelines by taking the mouth-to-mouth technique out of the list of recommendations. The main reason for the update was the increased risk of virus transmission. Nonetheless, the AHA now advocates for face mask usage during the entire process of providing CPR.
Rescuers Should Not Waste Time Looking For a Pulse
The AHA’s advice during the past decade indicated that in case of emergency, the rescuer should not waste time searching for the victim’s pulse. That was reaffirmed and officialized with the recent 2020 guidelines. The changes in guidelines emphasize the potential harm of not initializing CPR as soon as possible.
The Confidence Boost of CPR Recertification
Performing CPR in a real-life emergency is stressful. Regular CPR recertification not only updates your skills but also boosts your confidence. It reduces anxiety, making you more effective in high-pressure situations.
Reducing Anxiety Levels
A new study reports that in potential sudden cardiac arrest situations, only 61% of healthcare professionals feel confident in their CPR knowledge. 86% of them know what to do, and 60% would be able to command. 30% of the professionals have been worried about making a mistake during their latest real-life CPR intervention, 57% have been stressed, and 27% of them reported anxiety.
A recent CPR performance of the study participants was associated with lower odds of stress and anxiety. The fact confirms that regular CPR training, including recertification, is a crucial
factor in keeping calm and boosting confidence during CPR performances.
Improving Response Times
CPR recertification matters for the response time in an emergency. It is critical for the rescuers’ confidence in their knowledge and skills, allowing them to recognize the early signs of crisis, react swiftly, and deliver high-quality chest compressions.
Individuals who are not trained or haven’t refreshed their skills are more likely to misdiagnose or take a longer time to recognize the symptoms, collect themselves, and react properly. In some cases, this might end up tragically. Recertification is the most optimal way to stay up-to-date with the changes in CPR procedures and findings that might help improve response times.
The Community Impact of Recertified Individuals
CPR isn’t solely about the individual; it’s a community effort. If more people in Charleston are recertified in CPR, the odds of someone stepping in to help during an emergency increase significantly.
Bystander CPR in the Community
A CPR-related analysis based on 19 studies affirms the critical importance of bystander CPR, indicating that it doubles survival rates after sudden cardiac arrest and other emergencies. However, there is also a significant variation in bystander CPR frequency and success among different communities. The differences are mainly geographically based and associated with socioeconomic, racial, and other factors.
Regrettably, only 2.4% of the US population gets CPR training and certification on an annual level, despite the facts pointing towards the essential role of bystander CPR in the community. The numbers for CPR recertification are even more disappointing.
Considering the facts pointing to the vital importance of bystanders, every CPR certification and recertification guides us toward larger numbers of saved lives within our communities.
Under the General Duty Clause by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, every employer has a responsibility to keep employees safe. Unfortunately, some circumstances, such as cardiac arrest and other emergencies with potentially tragic outcomes, cannot be controlled.
Therefore, CPR certification, and consequently recertification, is a job requirement for multiple roles in the healthcare industry and similar sectors, especially those with a higher risk rate. They involve nurses, caregivers, emergency responders, security and transportation staff, coaches and trainers, flight attendants, firefighters, etc.
CPR training and renewal are beneficial for everyone, regardless of their profession. With over 10,000 cardiac arrests in workplaces in the USA on an annual level, CPR skills are critical. If the victims receive immediate intervention, the survival rates go up to 60%, while if they don’t, the chances are as small as 5%.
The value of CPR training is immeasurable in such situations. Hence, everyone, despite the legal and job requirements, can massively contribute to workplace safety.
The Practical Aspect of CPR Recertification
The AHA and the ARC offer certifications for multiple CPR programs through their trusted partners. The certificate confirms your skills and knowledge about the Chain of Survival, symptom recognition, chest compressions, guidelines, Good Samaritan laws, etc.
Regular CPR recertification is crucial for staying up-to-date with all of those aspects. Hence, CPR certifications are typically valid for two years. The expiration date should be visible on your certification card. To maintain your CPR card valid, you need to enroll in a CPR recertification class before the card expires.
The CPR renewal process usually takes less time than the initial CPR training and certification, extending the validity of your card for another two years.
CPR skills are essential for safe communities and survival rate enhancement during cardiac arrests and other emergencies in Charleston. Unfortunately, those skills deteriorate over time if they are not implemented in practice.
With rapid changes in global circumstances and medical advancements, refreshment of knowledge, technique, and CPR recertification are crucial to staying up-to-date and providing adequate help when needed.
CPR recertification will also help you maintain muscle memory and learn about the most optimal changes in the field. At the same time, it will reduce your fear or anxiety and be even more helpful to your workplace and community.