AHA Alarmed at Poor CPR Training Courses Available

The American Heart Association (AHA) is concerned that standardized training, both online and in-person, are “falling short and not always implemented to optimize retention and mastery.

According to the AHA, each year, over 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States. Statistics prove that if more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved.

Adam Cheng, M.D., associate professor at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Children’s Hospital, says that “educational activities are not consistently achieving their intended outcomes, as proven by significant decay in provider skills within months after training.”

The following AHA training guidelines focus on eight key elements:

  • Mastery learning and deliberate practice (practice until learners demonstrate mastery of skills);
  • Spaced practice (shorter, more frequent learning sessions);
  • Contextual learning (use of “real world” training experiences recognized by learners);
  • Feedback and debriefing (providing structured opportunities for reflection and feedback);
  • Assessment (measuring competency throughout a course with a variety of tools);
  • Innovative educational strategies (exploration of gamification, social and digital platforms to make learning “stick”);
  • Faculty development (continuous coaching and training of instructors); and
  • Knowledge translation and implementation (localize programs to fit learners’ needs).

The AHA is striving to double survival rates from cardiac arrest to 38% in-hospital and 15.8% for out-of-hospital as well as double bystander response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest to 62% by the year 2020.