The American Heart Association (AHA) reaches communities across the nation and around the world through its range of programs focused on cardiovascular care, research, and education. For health care professionals, the organization publishes several scientific journals and oversees strategically focused research networks to promote and advance the latest science in heart disease prevention and treatment. Additionally, the group provides emergency cardiovascular care (ECC) training for health care providers, caregivers, and members of the public.
The AHA has been a global leader in ECC science, education, and training since the early 1960s, when cardiovascular pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was first developed. Today, the Association publishes the official CPR and ECC guidelines and trains 23 million people annually in how to respond to cardiac arrest and first-aid emergencies. In addition to online courses and resources, the AHA provides CPR and ECC training through a network of more than 30,000 instructors and training centers around the globe.
Here’s a closer look at how the organization and its emergency care programs are inspiring people to save lives worldwide:
Preparing the Public for Health Emergencies
Anyone interested in learning basic or advanced lifesaving skills can turn to the AHA for a variety of virtual and in-person training programs in first aid, CPR, and the use of automatic external defibrillators. One of the organization’s most convenient training options is CPR Anytime, which includes portable training kits and self-directed learning to teach the basics of infant, child, and adult CPR and choking relief in as few as 20 minutes. CPR Anytime kits and learning materials are available through the AHA website.
The AHA also offers more in-depth training through programs featuring a combination of online and in-person courses. At AHA training centers nationwide, professional instructors teach the Family & Friends CPR course to people who want to learn CPR but are not required to do so for their jobs. Those who do require a CPR course completion card as part of a job requirement can complete one or more of the AHA’s five Heartsaver courses, which the organization offers at its training centers and on-site at company locations. All of the AHA’s public training courses and programs are hands-on and follow the organization’s research-proven practice-while-watching training technique.
Enhancing the Knowledge and Skills of Health Care Professionals
After completing their initial medical training, physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, and other health care professionals rely on the AHA to stay current with the latest emergency-response techniques. Along with its Basic Life Support course, the organization offers its Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support course for professionals looking to enhance their skills in responding to cardiopulmonary emergencies in a health care setting. The AHA’s other professional training offerings include the Pediatric Advanced Life Support course, which focuses on emergency treatment of infants, children, and adolescents.
As with its training programs for the general public, the AHA offers different options for the delivery of its professional courses. Health care providers can complete the programs in a classroom under the guidance of an instructor or through blended learning activities that combine online training with in-person skills sessions. The AHA delivers its blended courses through HeartCode, a self-directed eLearning program that uses lifelike animations and eSimulation technology to prepare students for real resuscitation events.
Providing Workforce Training and CPR in Schools
For a number of years, the AHA has worked in partnership with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to promote workplace safety and advance programs that support workers’ health and well-being. As part of these efforts, the Association delivers workplace training programs in pediatric and adult first aid and CPR. The AHA also offers training focused on blood-borne pathogens and provides resources to help business leaders develop and maintain AED programs in their companies. In addition to their use in construction and manufacturing, AHA’s workplace training programs are widely implemented across the oil and gas, security, and childcare industries.
Beyond the workplace, students and educators across the country use the AHA’s CPR in Schools Training Kit to learn and practice cardiac resuscitation techniques. The reusable kits contain inflatable manikins, training DVDs, and instructional materials that can be used to teach CPR skills to up to 20 people within a single class period. The AHA also offers additional resources to help teachers and administrators start and sustain CPR and AED training programs in schools nationwide.
Highlighting the Importance of Emergency Preparedness
Each year, the AHA, American Red Cross, National Safety Council, and other organizations celebrate National CPR and AED Awareness Week during the first week in June. Established in 2007, the national awareness event highlights how many lives could be saved if more people knew how to perform CPR and use an AED. The week also raises awareness of how important it is for bystanders to respond to emergencies involving cardiac arrest. To promote National CPR and AED Awareness Week, the AHA offers a variety of materials, including posters, fact sheets, and email templates, on its website at www.cpr.heart.org.
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