CPR is a miraculous technique that can save lives. However, just because a patient’s heart is beating again doesn’t mean they are out of danger. Recovering from cardiac arrest can be an arduous and risky process, and what a rescuer does in the immediate aftermath of CPR can make the difference between life and death in many situations.
The most important thing that a rescuer can do after successful resuscitation is put the victim in what is known as the CPR recovery position. Read on to learn the importance of this position, and how to apply this knowledge in emergency situations.
What Is the CPR Recovery Position?
After CPR has been successfully administered, the battle isn’t over just because the patient is breathing. You now need to make sure they can breathe without difficulty. One of the common side effects of CPR is vomiting, which can lead to aspiration, particularly if the patient is on their back.
Additionally, you need to make sure their airway is free from obstruction. If the victim is left lying on their back, their tongue can slip down and obstruct their airway. To avoid this, you need to put the patient in a position where their airways are as unobstructed as possible and their risk of aspiration is minimal. This is called the recovery position.
Here is a step-by-step guide to putting your patient into that CPR recovery position:
- Remove glasses, sharp rings, or any bulky or sharp items from the victim’s pockets.
- Make sure both of the patient’s legs are straight.
- Place the patient’s arm that is closest to you out perpendicular to the body, with the elbow bent at a 90-degree angle and the palm facing upward.
- Bring their other arm across their chest and place the back of their hand against the opposite cheek.
- Lift the knee opposite you up until the foot is flat on the floor.
- Using the elevated knee while keeping their left hand planted against their right cheek, roll the patient onto their side facing you.
- Place the bent leg on the floor to prop them up so they don’t roll over.
Once you have the patient in CPR recovery position, make sure they stay that way until medical assistance arrives. Doing so will give them the best possible chance of avoiding complications and making a full recovery.
What Should the Patient Do for Recovery After CPR?
CPR can have negative side effects. Chest compressions often lead to broken ribs, and intubation — which frequently comes in the wake of cardiac arrest — can be dangerous as well.
Patients will likely need to spend some time recovering in the hospital after being resuscitated. Doctors will want to figure out what caused the cardiac event in order to prevent it from happening again. They will also want to make sure the patient is fully functional before they are discharged, which may take time.
Many people experience cognitive and emotional issues after cardiac arrest. When the brain is deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time, serious brain injuries can ensue. These injuries may result in reduced concentration, memory impairment, movement issues, speech impairment, and fatigue, among other things.
Additionally, about half of those who receive CPR experience depression, and a quarter experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those who have experienced cardiac arrest should protect their mental health by seeking support from loved ones. In many cases, it is also helpful to seek out the help of a mental health professional.
Patience is key in the recovery process. If someone is experiencing trouble moving or cognitive deficits as a result of cardiac arrest, healthcare workers should help them understand there are therapeutic techniques that can help restore some level of functioning, but they take time to work.
How Can My Team Learn More About CPR Recovery?
At ProTrainings, we are committed to saving lives. That’s why our courses go beyond just teaching the basic steps of CPR. We make sure your team of rescuers is ready for every part of the CPR process, from mental and physical preparation to helping patients recover afterwards.
With our group and remote staff courses, getting your team emergency ready has never been simpler. Contact us today to learn how ProTrainings can make getting your staff CPR certified easier and more efficient.