CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is one of the most basic lifesaving skills that every family caregiver should know, but also one that anyone without a medical background or degree can learn.
If the person in your care (or someone else) exhibits signs of cardiac arrest, CPR is needed immediately.
Anyone can go into cardiac arrest, so while knowing how to perform CPR is vital, it is even more important for family caregivers who are taking care of someone with health issues that increase their risk of going into cardiac arrest.
What is cardiac arrest?
According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, a cardiac arrest is a medical emergency where someone’s heart suddenly stops beating. It is not the same as a Heart Attack in that the heart continues to beat during a heart attack.
There are a variety of reasons why someone may go into traumatic cardiac arrest. They include:
- Heart disease
- Stroke (See our article Stroke Signs & Symptoms)
- Drug overdose
It would be helpful for family caregivers to know the signs of cardiac arrest, which include:
- Sudden collapse
- Sudden unresponsiveness to touch or sound
- Abnormal breathing or no breathing
If the person in your care (or someone else) exhibits signs of cardiac arrest, CPR is needed immediately. Following the proper cardiac arrest CPR steps will help save that person’s life.
Continuous Chest Compression CPR is a hands-only method of CPR. The Heart & Stroke Foundation accepts this as a viable option for anyone who has not been trained to administer conventional CPR, or who is not sure of their ability to give the full cycle of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing. As the name suggests, continuous chest compression CPR does not involve giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
It’s important to note that these CPR instructions are only for use on adults and do not replace proper CPR training with a certified instructor. Continuous chest compression CPR is not meant for use on infants or children. The Canadian Red Cross has a full Summary of CPR Instructions for adults, children, and infants, but remember, this is not to be substituted for hands-on CPR training.
Certified CPR courses in Canada
Heart & Stroke Foundation
Most people who have not received formal CPR training probably think that CPR involves a combination of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In a medical emergency, where time is of the essence, remembering how many cycles of chest compressions and breaths to give the person in distress can be intimidating for someone without CPR training.
For this reason, the Heart & Stroke Foundation advises all Canadians to get CPR training so that they can apply this lifesaving skill on someone who needs medical assistance. They offer a number of training courses and resources, including CPR Anytime® Kits that are designed to be shared among close family and friends. Learn how to perform CPR on an adult, child, or infant in as little as 22 minutes with a CPR Anytime® Kit.
Canadian Red Cross & St. John Ambulance
You may also take certified CPR courses through the Canadian Red Cross, St. John Ambulance Canada, and other agencies within your community.
Saint Elizabeth Health Care
Saint Elizabeth, the company that powers Elizz, offers Standard First Aid Courses (including training on CPR and how to use an AED) through the Saint Elizabeth Health Career College in Ontario.
Throughout the month of February, Elizz is offering a special Heart & Stroke package for family caregivers including a combination of In-Home Care and Virtual Services. Visit our Heart Disease or Stroke web page or call 1-855-ASK-ELIZ (275-3549) to learn how you can save over $130 on Elizz services.
At Elizz, we provide caregiver support for you and home care services for those who depend on you. Elizz is a Canadian company powered by Saint Elizabeth, a national not-for-profit health care organization that has been caring for Canadians since 1908.