Basic life support in the community

As a part of our time in the St Mary’s paediatric department, we were lucky to be given time with the Connecting Care for Children team to develop our own projects. Lucinda, a paediatric registrar, and I realised that we were passionate about the importance of basic life support skills for parents. This is particularly relevant recently following the tragic death of a toddler from choking on a grape. We realised that there might be an opportunity for us to run some sessions in the community on basic life support.

We canvassed demand from parents on social media, and received over 20 replies in under 12 hours from parents and parents-to-be. We decided to set up two one-hour pilot sessions in a local children’s health centre, covering how to act in an emergency, basic life support and managing a choking baby or child. 

Basic Life support

We were lucky enough to recruit some fantastic volunteers and adorable babies for our pilot. Helen, a local health visitor, gave us really useful feedback on the day. We split the group into two to give each person a turn at practising basic life support techniques.

Here is some of the feedback from one of the volunteers:

"I am a dad to one toddler and one newborn baby, so I was really interested in child and baby first aid training. I realised that it is not only about your own children; it is worth knowing how to act in an emergency situation so that you can make the difference and if you think about what is at stake, then the difference means everything to you and to the people close to you. In fact, as they pointed out as a kind reply to our questions and doubts about expertise and panic: “if you are trained, you’ll do it and it is better to act than to do nothing”. In my opinion there is no point not to get trained! The doctors were clear, concise, effective and we were asked to simulate emergency situations with a dummy, so that we could learn practically. I hope this pilot can be expanded as a program at GP practices and as a practice champion I’ll do my best to have it at our GP's as soon as possible."

It is our hope that if there is enough interest, we would be able to set up a permanent session teaching basic life support skills to the local community. We are really grateful for the feedback that we got from our volunteers and are aiming to run further pilot sessions in January and February.