It’s a very scary, but very real statistic that there are nearly 30,000 cardiac arrests outside of hospital each year in the UK. However, the really frightening figure is that only 7-8% of people who receive resuscitation attempts survive to be discharged from hospital, according to the Resuscitation Council. This figure is much lower in the UK than in other developed countries.
The National Framework, Resuscitation to Recovery, states that chances of survival are time-dependent; the longer the attempted resuscitation is delayed, the worse the outcome. However, bystander intervention can help improve the chances of survival.
While great progress has been made in installing electronic defibrillators at sports grounds and public buildings – many a result of campaigns following the devastating loss of a loved one – there will likely always be situations where there’s no defibrillator available, say, at home, for example. That’s why learning how to do CPR is so incredibly important.
Restart a Heart Day, an initiative by the Resuscitation Council, encourages people to learn the lifesaving technique. This year, two second year Child Nursing students from LJMU, Naima Horrocks and Neve Ryles, volunteered to play their part. In the space of one day, the students achieved an amazing feat – training 240 pupils from one school how to perform CPR.
Naima was proud of her involvement: “Giving children the awareness and knowledge of CPR skills can potentially save lives. Being a part of Restart a Heart Day was great – to see so many children wanting to know more about how they can help.”
“It was a unique experience to use skills that we have learnt during our course to help children recognise when someone needs help,” Neve added.
Sarah Barton, the Resuscitation Officer and Education Nurse at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, organised the event: “Neve and Naima trained 240 kids in one school. 240. That's incredible! They are a credit to you and your university. I cannot stress enough how amazing they have been.”
Dave Melville, Senior Lecturer in LJMU’s School of Nursing and Allied Health, is understandably proud of his students’ achievements: “This has been a brilliant experience for Neve and Naima. Their commitment and dedication is a clear example of the ethos of child nursing – improving the lives of those around them.”
How to do CPR
If Neve and Naima have inspired you to learn how to save a life with CPR, the British Heart Foundation have easy to follow, step-by-step instructions:
- Shake and shout
- Check for normal breathing
- Call 999
- Give 30 chest compressions:
- Kneel next to the person
- Place the heel of one hand in the centre of their chest. Place your other hand on top of the first. Interlock your fingers
- With straight arms, use the heel of your hand to push the breastbone down firmly and smoothly, so that the chest is pressed down between 5–6 cm, and release
- Do this at a rate of 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute – that’s around two per second
- Give 30 chest compressions
- Give two rescue breaths
- Repeat until an ambulance arrives
Remember: even if you haven't been trained in CPR with rescue breathing, you can still use hands-only CPR.