"Traditionally, CPR courses were promoted to babysitters, daycare workers and lifeguards, and the model was that we set up a training center and the community came to us," said Comilla Sasson, M.D., lead researcher and emergency medicine expert and assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "Our research suggests a community-based approach is needed, such as partnering with local churches. Bringing our knowledge and expertise about CPR to their doorstep, instead of the other way around, could help address these issues and reduce healthcare disparities among minorities requiring immediate medical care.
"Study participants' suggestions included:
- make CPR classes free or provide allowances for childcare, gift cards for food or bus tokens for transportation;
- combine CPR training with basic first aid training, offer certification or academic credit or promote CPR as a job skill to help residents advance their professional careers; and
- emphasize that CPR starts at home to save the lives of family members and loved ones.
"There is also a real opportunity to adjust CPR training to focus on coming to the aid of family members, since four out of every five out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur at home," said Sasson, who is also part of the American Heart Association's Emergency Cardiac Care program. In 2008, the American Heart Association released a science advisory on Hands-Only CPR, which involves using only chest compressions for cardiac arrest. However, many of the study participants were unaware of the advisory.