Health Don’t skip a beat

Don’t skip a beat

Been a while since your last first aid course? Chances are you’ve forgotten more than you think.

Research from James Cook University shows skills decline in as little as a few months, especially cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR.

That’s a worry given heart disease is still the leading cause of death in Australia.

International figures suggests less than six per cent of people survive heart failure outside hospital but a competent first aid response can make all the difference.

James Cook University’s Associate Professor Richard Franklin says memory prompts are useful.

The ‘70s Bee Gees toe-tapper Stayin’ Alive, for example, helpfully mimics a good rhythm for CPR – 100 beats per minute.

But hand position and compression depth are harder to remember.

“Any previous training was better than none, but we found that skills deteriorated within three months, then plateaued from three to six months before deteriorating further,” Dr Franklin says.

“Overall, laypeople should attend at least one CPR training session that uses valid training strategies. Refresher training should focus on psychomotor skill performance and improving self-confidence, and should be undertaken every 3 to 6 months.”

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