COVID-19 CPR Guidance

We still want folks to feel prepared should they need to do CPR and make sure they are equipped with the skills they need and, with COVID-19 now a huge part of our lives, we want them to feel safe.

We know that these are really strange times. Many of the ways in which we were reaching folks and equipping them with CPR skills are no longer possible. The good thing is that our message to Scotland has not changed. The Global Resuscitation Research community are working hard to understand the implications of COVID 19 on cardiac arrest resuscitation with the aim to ensure the rescuer is kept as safe as possible.

Bystander CPR Guidance

The following statement from Sue Hampshire (RCUK Clinical Director) has been shared with our partnership.

What we know during times of COVID-19 –

“Cardiac arrests will still occur out of hospital and many will occur in the home. If no actions are taken, the person is unlikely to survive, so we must encourage people to feel safe enough to take those actions that will increase chances of survival. Therefore an emphasis must be placed on recognising cardiac arrest, calling for emergency help, undertaking at least compression-only CPR, whilst loosely covering the nose and mouth of the person in cardiac arrest with a face covering and locating and using an AED.

RCUK COVID-19 guidance for the general public includes:

  • Recognise cardiac arrest by looking for the absence of signs of life and the absence of normal breathing. Do not listen or feel for breathing by placing your ear and cheek close to the patient’s mouth. If you are in any doubt about confirming cardiac arrest, the default position is to start chest compressions until help arrives. 
  • Make sure an ambulance is on its way. If COVID 19 is suspected, tell them when you call 999. 
  • If there is a perceived risk of infection, rescuers should place a cloth/towel over the victims mouth and nose and attempt compression only CPR and early defibrillation until the ambulance (or advanced care team) arrives. Put hands together in the middle of the chest and push hard and fast.
  • Early use of a defibrillator significantly increases the person’s chances of survival and does not increase risk of infection. 
  • If the rescuer has access to any form of personal protective equipment (PPE) this should be worn.
  • After performing compression-only CPR, all rescuers should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water; alcohol-based hand gel is a convenient alternative. They should also seek advice from the NHS 111 coronavirus advice service or medical adviser.”

Guidance for those who teach CPR

The guidance from the Resuscitation Council UK can be found here

The Save a Life for Scotland partnership includes a wide and varying range of organisations and thus each organisation will have their own position statement and risk assessments for teaching CPR during the current COVID 19 pandemic. Decisions on whether to teach members of the public should lie with each individual organisation. We encourage all partners to review the Coronavirus information delivered by the Scottish Government on a regular basis  in order to ensure they act within current guidelines.

We know these restrictions are hard. Folks in Scotland need to hear the message that CPR saves lives more than ever. We’ve taken some training online and will add to the resources as more become available. You can access them here.

Keep using social media and online resources to spread the word regularly. Together we’ll get through this.