Corona has changed countless things, CPR included. Giving your mother a hug can mean that either of you will become infected. Unfortunately, this can become life-threatening. Corona also has a major impact on how you and I as citizens help other people in an emergency. Do you give that stranger mouth-to-mouth resuscitation during CPR? And are you going to place your ear over the face of someone to hear if they are breathing?
It is not surprising that such questions arise in your head when you think you need to resuscitate someone. Certainly not if you have not yet been (fully) vaccinated or do not want to run the risk. After all, you don’t know why someone needs your help. However, this does not mean that you should always help someone in need. Helping someone doesn’t mean you have to go beyond your limits. In all cases, call 112, so that the operator can support you. There is also the Dutch Resuscitation Council (NRC) guidelines for CPR classes at the time of Corona, the CPR protocol street and civilian aid.
CPR classes have been shut down for quite some time. It was not possible with the 1,5 meter rule. In addition, many trainers and instructors did not consider it responsible to come together in groups. Training has now been reinstated, but nothing has changed when it comes to teaching the CPR protocol. To reduce the risk of contamination when touching the resuscitation dummy and giving rescue breaths, the students always receive their own disposable lungs, sometimes also their own dummy and the manikins are thoroughly cleaned.
It is impossible for the control room to determine via telephone whether a victim is contagious due to the Coronavirus. That is why it has been decided to protect civilian first responders and the professional emergency services by resuscitating every victim as if they were infected with Corona. The CPR protocol has been adapted for this. For example, there is no physical contact during the breathing check and no mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is given. See the schedule on the right for the resuscitation protocol during Corona.
In addition to the NRR’s modified CPR protocol, there are also special guidelines for civilian first responders who are called in for CPR in the area. For a long time, people over the age of 50 were no longer called upon to perform CPR on the street. This rule no longer applies and people over 50 are being called up again. However, other guidelines do apply. For example, you cannot perform CPR in the following scenarios:
- You or one of your housemates belong to a risk group;
- You don’t feel comfortable giving CPR;
- You have been tested positive for Corona and are considered contagious by the GGD/RIVM;
- You feel sick and/or have symptoms of Corona or this applies to one of your roommates.
Keep in mind that in most cases, CPR is performed to someone you know. So, if you want to give your partner or neighbor mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, you are always free to do so.
In addition to the above guidelines, there is also further advice for protection:
- A maximum of 2 rescuers (including fire brigade/police) with the victim. Others are 1.5 meters away;
- Disinfect your hands and wrists immediately after resuscitation with soap and water or with hand alcohol;
- wear a face mask;
- Ambulance personnel can arrive in protective clothing. Don’t be alarmed, this does not indicate that the victim is actually infected.
Are you suffering from symptoms that could be related to Corona after CPR has been performed? Then it is essential that you follow the advice of the RIVM. Don’t forget to contact your own doctor if necessary.