Posts tagged: aeds

Graying of America – Why no CPR?

Fade age spots. Look years younger with a Lifestyle Lift. Great taste helps lower cholesterol. The suspicion that the target age group of mass media has altered in an upward direction is confirmed by a simple glance through the magazine section of the Sunday newspaper. Born during a 19-year period after World War II, the generation known as the “Baby Boomers” are now closing in upon retirement age. But more and more often, they are choosing to stay in their careers or to engage in a second career of more meaning to them than to retire to the golf course and the bridge table as have done previous generations.

By sheer numbers, this group is causing changes in urban planning, marketing, and even in the English language. In 2006, 12 percent of the American population was age 65 or older. These “seniors” are senior in more ways that one: 76 percent of them have graduated from high school compared to 24 percent in 1965. Median income in this age group has increased by 79 percent since 1974.

More than 6,600 people are celebrating their 65th birthday each day. Couple these sheer numbers of better educated, wealthier retirees that grew up in an age of intense social change with their willingness to volunteer to effect social change and you have a vast pool of available talent that is underutilized. Senior centers offer a number of physical fitness options as well as the usual social choices, but why not health and wellness along with travel and wine courses? Include CPR and First Aid with travel classes. The audience is there and the centers are being built; now is the time to provide input into how they are being built and to capitalize upon the potential resources that are exist.


The Technology Curve

For today’s students from kindergarten through graduate school, technology is a way of life. This is a generation that has never heard an LP, let alone a 45. On a multiple choice quiz, these young people would be more likely to choose the answer “pistol” than “music recording” if asked the definition of the latter. A recent article referred to the student-teacher technology gap as the difference between technology immigrants and technology natives. Guess which is which?

The health care ramifications may not be immediately obvious, but a “technology native” is much more likely to be willing to use technology to save a life–for example, to deploy an AED–than would be a “technology immigrant” to perform the same action. Studies show that bystanders witnessing a cardiac arrest respond between 17-33% of the time – even though many have had CPR training in the past. Could these dismal response rates be associated with a lack of familiarity of the life-saving benefits of AED units?

Interestingly, next year for the first time the United States Air Force will buy more unmanned planes than manned. Some of these drones are already in use, guided by the video game generation from a base near Las Vegas, to attack and patrol in Iraq with the precision of a laser surgeon. What can be done to tap into this comfort level with technology to increase the numbers of citizens willing to perform life saving CPR and to activate AED devices if warranted? One answer is to begin where all social change is best begun: in the public schools.

Health education is already required in many states. It would be a simple matter to add CPR and First Aid training as part of this curriculum. The generation taking such courses already comprises a substantial portion of the victim demographic. Who better to equip with life saving skills than the very people likely to witness an emergency event?


The BEST AED Available! Or is it?

How controversial does it get? Like many important pieces of medical equipment, the sale and acquisition process of purchasing a life-saving device can be daunting – even outright frustrating. Couple this frustration with an inexperienced acquirer trying to learn and speak a language which heretofore was foreign to them and the migraine really starts to set in. Commonly AED purchasers cite “information overload” during the sales process. Battery Life, Electrode pad life, AED unit self checks, escalating energy vs. fixed energy, semi-automatic vs. automatic, you name it! Medical device manufacturers spend millions of dollars trying to simplify an important and complex medical process (analyzing a patient’s heart rhythm and delivering life-saving therapy – all in a matter of seconds), so why to AED salespeople overindulge the public with banal information? If the AED industry is so easy to understand, any bystander can be a rescuer with little-to-no formal training, and AED units utilize “smart” technology to avoid erroneous diagnosis, why do purchasers commonly hit a state of impasse when analyzing what unit is best for their needs?

Lets face it: all units are great. All units save lives. Nobody on this earth would like to be faced with a situation in which an AED isn’t available to them. So what’s the fuss? Are these features really important, and if so, does the public good which they offer outweigh the potential damage done by possible confusion and delaying device acquisition?

What do you think? Do AED unit differences matter, and if so, which ones?


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