As a facility manager who’s responsible for keeping your workplace safe and prepared, you have likely heard of the Chain of Survival. The Chain of Survival represents the actions that rescuers — including bystanders, paramedics, and hospital personnel — take to improve the likelihood of survival in the event of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Understanding the links in this chain can reduce mortality rates. Until recently, there were five links in the Chain of Survival. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), these steps are as followed:
- Bystander-initiated recognition and activation of an emergency response
- Effective CPR with an emphasis on chest compressions
- Advanced resuscitation by EMS or other healthcare providers
- In-hospital, post-cardiac arrest care
However, the links are evolving, as the AHA has released updated guidelines for Dispatcher-Assisted Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DA-CPR), which adds “Recovery” as a sixth link to the chain. This new link introduces the concept that recovery continues after initial hospitalization and is a critical component of resuscitation. Adding a new link in the chain for survival places more emphasis on the continuation of care. This means that individuals and their caregivers require ongoing support during—and after—their recovery.
Let’s review the changes and how a comprehensive AED management solution enhances employee safety and recovery across the entire chain.
Recovery in the Chain of Survival
In addition to the previous five links in the Chain of Survival, the AHA now recommends that cardiac arrest survivors and their caregivers receive expectations and survivorship plans that address treatment, surveillance, and rehabilitation upon hospital discharge. Because recovery from cardiac arrest continues after initial hospitalization, patients should have formal support for their physical, cognitive, and psychosocial needs. The AHA suggests taking a structured approach to assessing signs of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and fatigue for both cardiac arrest survivors and caregivers - and to this we would add, co-workers and families.
“We recommend that cardiac arrest survivors have multimodal rehabilitation assessments and treatment for physical, neurological, cardiopulmonary, and cognitive impairments before discharge from the hospital,” stated the AHA.
Long-term survivorship also requires support from family and professional caregivers—including experts in cognitive, physical, and psychological rehabilitation and recovery—and a system-wide commitment to quality improvement at every level of care. After resuscitation, debriefing for lay rescuers (who may also be co-workers), EMS providers, and hospital-based healthcare workers may be beneficial to support mental health and well-being.
The Importance of a Comprehensive AED Management Solution
As facility managers, taking pre-emptive safety measures can help ensure your workplace environment is as risk-free as possible. Implementing a comprehensive AED management solution not only enables quicker response times to emergency situations, it also ensures that your employees know how to respond to each stage of the Chain of Survival in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). You can rest easy knowing that your AEDs will be ready and your rescuers will be even better prepared for an emergency.
SCA happens when you least expect it, as this workplace rescue illustrates. In this situation, a well-prepared team took the necessary bystander-initiated actions as outlined in the Chain of Survival, including recognition and activation of emergency response, effective CPR with an emphasis on chest compressions and defibrillation with the ZOLL® AED Plus®. After multiple rounds of CPR and two shocks, the individual experiencing the SCA came to. Because of the swift response, he was able to receive immediate aid, which helped save his life.
As other work-place survival stories like this and this indicate, AEDs can save lives. However, it’s equally essential to ensure that your employees know how to locate and use your AED, and that your devices are up-to-date. An AED management program like Rescue Ready® Services provides the PlusTrac™ AED Program Management software, PlusCare™ service and maintenance, and PlusLearning™ training support to manage your life-saving AED program.