Participating in CPR training with a disability…..

August 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm 2 comments

This past weekend I did my annual health care professional ritual of completing my CPR re-certification.  Although, this time it was not so typical as I started to wonder, could Bill (my handsome husband, who happens to have a C5-C6 incomplete spinal cord injury) perform CPR on me in the event of an emergency?  What accommodations would the Red Cross and/or the American Heart Association make for those who want to be CPR certified and have a disability?

I spoke with a Red Cross representative from my area to get some clarification.  There are three main critical objectives that need to be met for CPR certification 1-to get on the floor, 2-To be able to give an effective breath (making the chest rise) and 3-to be able to give effective chest compressions.  If a participant is able to complete these three main critical objectives, as well as pass the written exam, they will receive the CPR certification card.

The representative reviewed that modifications can be made, as long as the three main critical objectives are still met.  For example, a woman with a congenital birth defect that had left her without forearms or hands recently took the course and completed the  certification.  The Red Cross representative reported that she was able to get on the floor, she was able to give effective breaths, but instead of using her hands to complete the chest compressions, she was able to effectively complete the chest compressions with her foot.

If, however, a person is unable to complete any of the three main critical objectives, a certification card cannot be issued.  Although certification would not be obtained, auditing the class to learn the information is still a viable option.  Learning this information would allow you to instruct others to help with CPR, in case of an emergency.

I thoroughly understand the need for these critical objectives to be met to provide effective CPR, but am delighted to know that modifications can be made.  If you are interested in learning more about what accommodations can be made for completing CPR with a disability, please contact the American Red Cross and/or the American Heart Association for details.

Save a life, learn CPR!

Entry filed under: Home Safety. Tags: , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bill Ziegler  |  August 17, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I took the class when I was in Security. Had to take. But I really couldn’t do it. So bascially wound up just watching. I was given my card.. But did I really learn CPR? No. Am I confident I could talk someone through it? Again.. No.. it’s really a bummer to because I really want to learn it. I also don’t really get where to look for a pulse on the neck or where to place my fingers to find the right spot.

    I guess it was still vaulable in a way. but still hope i never have to face that situaiton. Can i call 911 and given info sure. but that’s about it.

    • 2. empowerability  |  August 18, 2010 at 5:08 am

      Hey Bill, That is great that you took the course for work. If you have not done the course in a while, and are still interested, you may need a refresher course. As an Allied Health Professional, I have to re-certify every year to keep up to date. However, during our training, the instructor informed us that the Red Cross has done some research and it shows that people start to lose the information within 2 weeks of training due to not using it, and this is specifically why they recommend annual refresher courses. Keep in mind that now that we are all so connected with cell phones, if you were to call 911, and have learned CPR but have forgotten how to do it, the 911 operator could verbally assist you through the steps of CPR. However, it still comes down to if you are physically able to complete the three main critical objectives.


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