Lay resuscitation rates must be significantly increased

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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From left: President of the German Renaissance Council Bernd Böttiger, Deputy President of the Bundestag Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens), Greens health policy spokesperson Janosch Dahmen and Marc-Pierre Möll, managing director of BVMed. /Schwencke

Berlin – Around 200 people in Germany suffer a cardiac arrest every day. The Bundestag is not spared from such incidents either. It was only in the last week of the meeting that a colleague was suddenly struck, Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) reported today as part of the Revival Action Day.

Members of the Bundestag and staff were invited to participate in resuscitation training and learn or refresh the theoretical and practical foundations of resuscitation. Lay defibrillators and resuscitation dummies could be tested on site.

“The day of action sends an important signal,” said the Greens’ health policy spokesman Janosch Dahmen (Greens), who initiated the day of action together with Göring-Eckardt and the Bundestag Staff Committee. “It is especially important for everyone today who will see again how chest compressions work and how to use a lay defibrillator when it matters.”

Very low resuscitation rate

At just under 50%, Germany’s lay resuscitation rate is far below comparable figures in neighboring European countries, Dahmen said. “Germany still has a lot to do, some of its neighboring countries are decades ahead of us”, he highlighted the situation.

There is regular training at work and in schools on how to perform resuscitation and how to register on a first aid app. Dahmen reported that he already maintains a “stubborn correspondence” with the states and is working with the associations to persuade them to make regular first aid training mandatory in German schools.

“Every year, 10,000 people with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest could be saved through rapid lay resuscitation measures,” clarified Dahmen. To make the rescue chain efficient and increase the probability of survival for those affected, the links in the rescue chain would have to be interconnected even better. Regular resuscitation training in schools, but also in companies, is crucial to this.

Dahmen emphasized that he had already approached Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil and warned him about the need for regular resuscitation training in companies. “We still need to find a federal regulation for this,” he said.

“These are all very important pieces of the mosaic that make a difference when in doubt,” said Dahmen, who is also an emergency physician. If in doubt, the best emergency medicine will no longer be able to do anything if you reach the patient too late and the patient has not been seen in the meantime.

Possible for everyone

The Green Party’s health policy spokesperson highlighted that resuscitation was possible for everyone and that no great knowledge was required. “But we need a completely different culture and standard for resuscitation in Germany,” he made clear.

“There are many people we could save in Germany and I think the Bundestag should be a model in this context,” said Göring-Eckardt, referring to in-house first aid training. The day of action is an important initiative that should take place regularly in the Bundestag.

As part of the emergency care reform, Dahmen is committed to introducing telephone-guided resuscitation nationwide in control centers in Germany. This is still not the case everywhere. “Part of the reform should also be the use of first aid applications”, demanded the emergency doctor. Registered rescuers could then be alerted to a cardiac arrest in their area via rescue control centers.

As part of the Medical Device Operators Ordinance, Dahmen is also committed to making lay defibrillators more widely available. To ensure device functionality and integrate control center options and first responder alert applications, defibrillators must be adapted to technical innovations. “These are all important building blocks,” says Dahmen.

Reference to the action plan

At the event, attention was also paid to the resuscitation action plan of the German Resuscitation Council (GRC) and the Federal Association for Medical Technology (BVMed). It contains concrete measures aimed at increasing the rate of lay resuscitation in Germany.

The federal government proposes, among other things, structured educational offerings on resuscitation for all age groups, as well as the widespread use of telephone resuscitation systems (T-CPR) and first aid. Additionally, the availability and discoverability of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) should be improved in publicly accessible and heavily frequented locations and in locations with extended stays.

The action plan is supported by the Patient Safety Action Alliance (APS), the Federal First Aid Association (BAGEH) and the German Heart Foundation.

Revival Action Day received a great response in the Bundestag. Around 200 Bundestag members and Bundestag employees signed up in advance and some joined later. “The day of action is more than necessary,” said Ingo Schäfer, SPD member of the Bundestag.

“It should be mandatory for citizens to inform themselves about resuscitation,” he said in an interview with German medical journal. “As a long-time professional firefighter with over 20 years in the rescue service, I know that every second counts in an emergency.” There cannot be enough first responders. “You can only do one thing wrong: do nothing,” he said.

“I’m here today to learn how to revive someone in the worst possible scenario,” said Annelie Till, a Bundestag administration official. “It’s been a while since my last first aid course. I thought about it from time to time, but never found the time. Now the course is being offered here and that’s great,” she said, saying she was convinced of the campaign.

Bundestag employee Fabian Hemker had also been planning to take a resuscitation course for a long time. “Now it is being offered here in the Bundestag and I signed up. I think it would be good to make courses mandatory, not just in schools, but for everyone. First aid must be distributed to the masses,” Hemker said.

“I think it’s great when you can save people’s lives,” said Brigitte Feuerer, also a member of the Bundestag, describing her reasons for participating. “I would be afraid to get into a situation like that and not know what to do.”

“Cardiac arrest is the third most common cause of death – the potential to do good and help is enormous,” said Florian Koroska, specialist in anesthesiology, intensive care anesthesiology medicine and emergency medicine and head of a resuscitation course, to the participants. “The population must recognize that something has to be done here. Bring your knowledge of revitalization to your environment,” he said, giving a clear message.

The resuscitation courses were organized by the German Resuscitation Council (GRC) and the Federal Association for Medical Technology (BVMed). © nfs/aerzteblatt.de

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