Healthcare workers and trained first aid responders are being urged not to delay commencing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, in partnership with the Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG), have published new clinical flowcharts to guide clinicians and trained first aid responders in delivering potentially lifesaving CPR as safely as possible.
The Taskforce established a Cardiac Arrest Working Group as a result of feedback from hospital and community representatives citing a hesitation to commence resuscitation of people in cardiac arrest during the pandemic, stemming from concerns about infection risk.
Drawing on expertise in infection prevention and control, infectious diseases, emergency care, intensive care, anaesthetics, retrieval, primary care and public health, the working group considered the best national and international advice on CPR during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working Group member, Adjunct Clinical Professor Simon Craig, said the Taskforce recognised a need to provide healthcare providers, healthcare workers and members of the community with clear guidance on resuscitation principles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The key differences to regular CPR if a person may have COVID-19 are to wear a mask if you have one, look for breathing with chest movements but do not place your face or hand near the person’s mouth or nose, and then start CPR performing chest compressions only.
“If you’ve done Basic Life Support training and are willing to jump in to help save a life, then don’t hesitate. Our advice is to call for help, start chest compressions if you’re willing to do so, and get someone to fetch a defibrillator if one is handy.”
For further information and to view the latest guidelines: covid19evidence.net.au