60 second CPR training - Real or Fantasy?

I've always hated the AHA CPR and AED courses.  I shouldn't say hate, that's a strong word. Downright despise is more like it.

They take a very straight forward task and make it so boring and complicated I can't turn the lights down for all 6 students in the class to see or else they'll fall asleep.

Full disclosure, I've been an AHA CPR instructor for 14 years and an ACLS and PALS Instructor for 3.  I've watched the videos and book content improve slightly, but that just took it from miserable to boring.

The last 4 years has had me teaching AHA CPR and AED as well as First Aid on average every 20 days.  I can recite the video almost from memory.  I can also count on one hand how many times someone completed the class and said they enjoyed it and had a good time.  Taking AHA CPR is a chore. 3-3.5 hours to learn the same task over and over and over again...there must be a better way.

There is.

Where I work we started offering "Hands Only CPR, AED and First Aid," all together, all instructor based, not video based and it takes about 2.5 hours.
How did we cram 6 hours of material into 2?  We cut out what doesn't work for the general public and move the class along as the students become proficient, not when the video metronome finally stops.

At a recent Health Faire I had a table with a CPR chest, CPR baby, an AED and a few bandaging supplies.  People seemed scared to even look over at me.  They were all eligible to take the class at no cost and during their regular work shift.  There are ZERO barriers from them taking the full AHA class, yet few do.

Also, a quick sideways here, the current ratio is 1:6.  I can only teach 6 people at a time with AHA.

My hands only classes average about 40.  Everyone rotates through skills but we combine everything to make it more realistic. We focus on hand placement, depth and rate, switching out compressors and also teach them how to give real time feedback in case they tire and another bystander hasn't taken a class.

OK, back to the health faire...

I began challenging people that I could teach them CPR in 60 seconds.  They'd laugh and I'd bring them over.
Your friend passed out.  Shake and Shout.  Call for help. HEY YOU call 911! HEY YOU get an AED! Look, Listen, Feel.
Not breathing? Start CPR.
Hell of hand to center of chest, push 2-2.5 inches to Stayin' Alive.

Ready? BEGIN!
And they spent the next 40 seconds doing perfect compressions, then they'd communicate with a person passing by and hand over without a pause greater than 10 seconds.

Lots of smiles, lots of high fives.

Did I teach them infant? Not everyone, no.
Did I teach them choking? Not everyone, no.
Did I teach them something they'll remember and are likely to do if I'm not there? Yes.

Should there be a formal course for people who are expected to intervene in an emergency?  Sure.  Teachers, coaches, tour guides etc should all take an advanced course, like AHA offers currently if they want to offer the most to their clients/students etc.

Can something between 1 minute and 2 hours have more of an impact for the janitor at the office building, the clerk at the store or the guy jogging in the morning?  I argue yes.

Is 60 second CPR reality or fantasy?  I'd argue making the skill less secretive and easier to learn will save more lives in the long run.

What do you think?


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