L I F E S T A R T

First Aid Industry Standards – It’s 2021. Welcome to Rant Part 3

Just a warning, you’re going to hear this alot from us. We like to stand up and shout it when we can. Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates have pretty well stagnated since 2012. That’s a DECADE with pretty much ZERO improvement!
 
I demand (often) that we ask ourselves: Why?!?! Hasn’t technology advanced exponentially over the same period? First aid continues to be taught pretty much the same as it always has been. Again - WHY?! ???? ????
 
Here’s my take. There’s a lack of cohesion for industry standards at a national level, plus VERY little auditing for first aid programs. There appears to be a pretty large gap between: what’s acceptable vs.  what’s being taught. In Life Start’s first 5 years in the industry, we’ve continued to find gaps within how first aid is being taught.  Here’s a couple of comments I get in our classes: “Hey are we breathing in people this year? I heard it was taken out.” ...or “Whoa, are we doing 15 compressions now? I thought we were doing 10, then 5 and 2 breaths.”
 
It appears that instructors tend to teach what they think the national standards should be as opposed to what the scientific evidence-based recommendations are. Hey now, we’re not saying this is always the instructor’s fault. Maybe it’s the company they work for, or lack of communication within that company. But here’s the thing, without clear guidelines (STANDARDS!) that tell us why and when there are changes in what is being taught, confusion is just...going to happen.
 
There doesn’t seem to be a direct line of communication, which could be a contributing factor to why there are so many issues within our industry. Let’s find a way to shorten the gap and  provide quality training, from coast to coast - with little variation.
 
While we’re at it, let’s look at more virtual programs in the industry. This could enable better cohesion and less ability for information to be distorted, as the core information would be delivered virtually (the same every time, for every learner). Virtual is also so 2021, right? (Thanks COVID). To hammer that last point home, when talking about industry standards, the 2020 American Heart Association Guidelines: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Edition also mentioned that virtual  learning was a viable option to also help improve retention rates (and we love retention!).
 
Right now, revisions and recommendations (like those from the October 2020 American Heart Association Guidelines) typically take 12-18 months to be implemented in day-to-day first aid programs. We think this is a huge issue - participants are receiving information that is over a year old! (pssst - not here at Life Start, we’ve got them in our programs within a month).
 
What do you think? Doesn’t Canada deserve actual national industry standards and not just a few best practices when it comes to equipment ratios or instructor certification? We’re talking about SAVING LIVES HERE! What do you think?
 
End rant for today, but we can’t promise there won’t be a Part 4 ;)
 
For your referencing pleasure:
https://www.redcross.ca/crc/documents/What-We-Do/First-Aid-and-CPR/final-report-first-aid-wa-02-15-2015-01-16.pdf  (2020 American Heart Association Guidelines: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Edition)