It’s a horrifying scenario to think about. We hear it in the news far too often, many times close to home – a person suddenly collapses and dies from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Sudden cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack. A person having a heart attack is awake, and the heart is beating. In SCA, the heart suddenly stops beating effectively. The person loses consciousness and can die within minutes.
Knowing the importance of these first few lifesaving moments, Hudson Hospital & Clinic, St. Croix EMS & Rescue and the Hudson School District, with fundraising support from Hudson Hospital Foundation continue to work together on Heart2Heart ― Saving Lives Together (formally known as the Hudson Community Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) program). The goal of the program is to reduce the time to defibrillation – that lifesaving shock to the heart – and increase the chance of survival for people with heart-related emergencies in and around Hudson.
“During sudden cardiac arrest, the first few minutes can have a significant impact on the outcome,” said Eric Christensen, chief of St. Croix EMS & Rescue. “Ordinary bystander’s recognition of symptoms, notification of 9-1-1 and immediate CPR and AED use – known as the “chain of survival” – greatly influence how EMS will begin their treatment when arriving on scene. We see the difference this makes.”
Heart2Heart follows American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines and is a community -wide approach to save lives – to increase and improve awareness, access to, and use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and CPR training, said Karen Hansen, program development, and marketing and community relations manager at Hudson Hospital & Clinic. “Our goal is to build confidence and empower bystanders to respond – whether you are an employee, community member or student.” Victims depend on the actions of bystanders and local rescuers to perform life-saving measures during those first few critical minutes after collapse. These minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation rates continued to be “woefully inadequate” according to an American Heart Association Report (January 14, 2008), and roughly 95 percent of all sudden cardiac arrest victims in America, including those who are young and healthy, are not revived quickly enough, and they die.
According to HealthDay News (June 2, 2008), “While 89 percent of Americans say they’re willing and able to help if they witness a medical emergency, only 21 percent are confident they could perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and only 15 percent believe they can use an automated external defibrillator (AED).”
Realizing that more could be done to educate and train “bystanders”, Heart2Heart decided to broaden its CPR/AED training program and encourage the public to get more involved.
Grant funds received from the Rural Hospital Flexibility Program through the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health ($30,000) and the Bailey Foundation ($5,000) are being used to provide the necessary CPR/AED training, equipment and supplies to ensure program success. “CPR is an inexpensive and readily available technique that can save lives. We need to increase the number of people trained and the quality of CPR provided,” said Philip Hughes, RN, CPR training manager. “One of the Heart2Heart program goals is to train everyone – from middle school students to the elderly.”
Businesses and organizations
Funding also enables the program to continue to offer subsidized, low cost AEDs and free CPR/AED training and support to businesses and organizations in the community who are committed to reducing the number of deaths caused by SCA. Anywhere large numbers of people regularly congregate, there’s a chance someone will collapse from sudden cardiac arrest, as upwards of a quarter of a million Americans do each year.
Workplace teamwork can save lives – just ask Robert (Bob) Deutsch, Dan Lee, and Tim Turner of Nor-Lake, Inc. in Hudson who received the Great Save Award in grateful recognition of their outstanding and heroic efforts in saving the life of their co-worker Carey Dallman, of River Falls, on August 21, 2008 (see separate story).
Community members benefit from the funding as well. Heart2Heart is able to offer reduced-fee CPR/AED training (both certification and non-certification classes) in a variety of class formats and settings for just $10/person through August 2009 (a $65 value). Check out the web site at www.hudsonhospital.org (Classes and Resources) for a complete class schedule. Watch for community training events and ask about the new CPR Anytime ® take-home training kits available in the Health Resource Center at the hospital – training at home in as little as 22 minutes! Also new this year is the Heartsaver ® CPR in Schools community class designed especially for teens seeking certification. Next class is Saturday, March 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (pre-registration is required). All classes are taught in the beautiful new training facility located at 901 Dominion Drive, Hudson.
Hudson schools and area youth
Because approximately 20 percent of a community is in its schools on any given day, including students, staff, parents and visitors, funding will also help the Heart2Heart program achieve its goal of training 400+ students this year. According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, young people aren’t immune from SCA – and in some cases, they’re actually more vulnerable than adults. Common conditions in children that increase their risk for SCA include: Congenital Heart Defects, which are responsible for two-thirds of sudden cardiac arrest cases in young people and are the most common cause of heart-related death in athletes and young people under 30; Myocarditis, an inflammatory disease of the middle layers of the heart; and Commotio Cordis, an electrical disturbance caused by a blow to the chest that occurs at precisely the wrong time in the cardiac cycle, resulting in ventricular fibrillation and sudden collapse. Young athletes are at risk even when wearing chest protectors.
Grant funds will provide K-8 awareness education and CPR/AED training opportunities for Hudson School District students and area youth. Looking to expand its team of CPR instructors, specifically to help build the youth program, Heart2Heart looked to community partner University of Wisconsin – River Falls for help. Department chairpersons Debra Allyn, Ph.D. (Health & Human Performance) and Teri Crotty, Ph.D. (Teacher Education) helped recruit interested students – those looking for hands-on teaching experience. “These students, by choice of their majors, were already interested in health or education – it seemed a natural fit,” said Karen Hansen. Four newly hired CPR instructors will tag-team teach with selected high school student peer training advisors, who will complete their training in April. Heart2Heart is confident that this tag-team approach and peer-to-peer instruction will not only engage students and staff, but prove to be an effective method of training. Students can’t help but get excited with the many great promotions, student referral program incentives, and the new website and Facebook page to launch in the next month. The goal is to get them – and their friends – involved.
Help Heart2Heart increase the number of lives saved. Remember, It’s not about you…it’s about the people you pass on the street everyday; it’s about your family, your friends and your community; it’s about the kid sitting next to you in class; it’s about your 9 to 5 team; it’s about your ability to make a difference. Learn more. Do more. Save a Life.
For more information about the Heart2Heart program or to learn how you, your child, or your business or organization can participate, call Karen Hansen, program development, at 715/531-6056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many compelling reasons to learn CPR and proper AED use.
According to the American Heart Association:
Each year in the U.S., more than 250,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest – that’s nearly 600 people a day (25 people per hour)
- Most deaths occur out-of-hospital due to lack of accessibility and delay of time to defibrillation
- 80% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the home
- It takes an average of 7 to 10 minutes for EMS help to arrive at the victim’s side in most communities
- It takes an average of 4 to 6 minutes for brain death to occur without CPR or shock from and AED
- With every passing minute, a victim’s odds of survival drop by 10 percent
- Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes
CPR/AED classes are readily available in our community