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COVID Taskforce releases new guidance on CPR


Morgan Liotta


22/10/2020 2:46:32 PM

The guidelines have been developed in response to concerns about risk of infection when administering CPR amid COVID-19.

Close of person administering chest compressions.
The Taskforce is urging trained first-aid responders not to delay administering CPR because of COVID-19.

The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce (the Taskforce) has published new resources to assist healthcare professionals and trained first-aid responders in delivering potentially lifesaving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to adults.
 
The Taskforce established a Cardiac Arrest Working Group that worked closely with the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) and key members of the Taskforce.
 
Broad consultation across the healthcare sector, government and the general public assisted in development of three CPR flowcharts, in partnership with the Infection Control Expert Group.
 
A key objective was to ensure they are largely supported by healthcare professionals, and ease any concerns about risk of infection when administering CPR.
 
The flowcharts are based on current recommendations in emergency care, infectious diseases, infection prevention and control, anaesthetics, retrieval, primary care and public health.
 
The Taskforce also identified the need to provide clear guidance on resuscitation principles during the pandemic, and is urging healthcare professionals and trained first-aid responders not to delay administering CPR because of COVID-19.
 
‘We understand the pandemic has caused much confusion and concern for many clinicians about the safety of normal life-saving procedures both within healthcare settings and out,’ Adjunct Clinical Professor Simon Craig, Cardiac Arrest Working Group member and paediatric emergency physician, said.
 
‘The flowcharts reinforce the importance of first maximising staff safety and then commencing chest compressions as soon as possible.

‘Preparedness of healthcare providers is critical. This means ensuring the wishes of patients and their families in terms of treatment plans are documented and communicated, healthcare workers receive life support training incorporating PPE [personal protective equipment] use, and resuscitation equipment is readily available together with appropriate PPE.’
 
Consistent with national PPE guidance and developed for use in healthcare and community settings, the three flowcharts cover CPR for adults with confirmed cases of COVID-19:
 

 
According to the Taskforce, preparedness for CPR delivery is key to facilitating a rapid response while protecting staff from the risk of COVID infection.
 
Professor Peter Morley, ARC Chair and Working Group member, highlighted that it is also critical that trained first-aid responders feel confident to perform ‘compression only’ CPR.

‘Lives can be saved by starting basic life support and calling for help early. We know that delays can result in worse outcomes for patients,’ he said.

‘The key differences to regular CPR if a person may have COVID-19 are to wear a mask if you have one, look for breathing with chest movements but do not place your face or hand near the person’s mouth or nose, and then start CPR performing chest compressions only.

‘If you’ve done basic life support training and are willing to jump in to help save a life, then don’t hesitate. Our advice is to call for help, start chest compressions if you’re willing to do so, and get someone to fetch a defibrillator if one is handy.’
 
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