GUEST BLOG: T-CPR in Arkansas

I’m back this month to talk to you guys about Telephone CPR and just how many lives it can save! T-CPR is when a dispatcher coaches a caller through CPR for a cardiac arrest victim as first responders are on their way. It’s an important step, because if CPR is started right away the chance of survival can double or even triple.


Right now, not all dispatchers in Arkansas are able to coach CPR over the phone to callers in need. This is a critical gap and with your help we can make change happen! Add your voice HERE to receive the latest information as we work on T-CPR legislation in Arkansas.

A high-quality telecommunicator CPR (T-CPR) program can save more lives from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and strengthen the chain of survival, according to a recent advisory from the American Heart Association. Did you know each year in the United States, an estimated 350,000 people experience sudden cardiac arrest in out-of-hospital environments? Wow!

Hannah and her sister

Only about 1 in 10 victims survives this dramatic event. Shocking, right?  To survive sudden cardiac arrest, the victim needs immediate help, which can be best provided by a trained professional but sometimes bystanders have to step-in. Working with a 9-1-1 caller, telecommunicators have the first opportunity to identify a victim in cardiac arrest and provide initial care by delivering CPR instructions until medical services arrive. “Through these actions, the telecommunicator can make the difference between life and death,” said the statement author Michael Kurz, M.D. It is crucial that telecommunicators are accessible in cases of emergency in order to save a life!

Implementing a quality program in T-CPR and achieving adherence to the performance standards with undoubtedly save countless lives! These standards will not be achieved overnight, but if we give our unwavering attention to implementing these programs, victims of cardiac arrest will be given a chance to return to their family. If you look at any high performing EMS system, you will find a community committed to providing high-quality T-CPR because it is truly so vital.

The AHA convened an expert panel of EMS telecommunicators, emergency communication trainers, medical directors of EMS programs, and EMS researchers to provide program and performance recommendations for T-CPR. All of the research that has gone into this program ensures that it will do what it is designed to do!

For T-CPR to be effective, the telecommunicators must be well-prepared to elicit information quickly, interpret the information, and provide direction. A QI process should be established with clear, objective data sets, and specific individuals should be identified who are accountable for conducting reviews under the guidance of a physician to drive quality care. With careful research and quality training, T-CPR can eventually be implemented in many EMS systems!

T-CPR is especially important for folks who live in rural communities where help might not arrive as quickly as you’d like. With the closing of rural hospitals and medical centers, T-CPR can mean someone is able to get CPR earlier and keep blood pumping to a person’s heart and brain to reduce the chance of serious complications from a cardiovascular event.

Hannah and her family

If any of my family members faced a sudden cardiac arrest, I would want a well-trained telecommunicator working on the line to save their life! The implementation of this program is so important to me for my family and many other families in Arkansas. The support and dedication to this program from the AHA (American Heart Association) and the (IOM) Institute of Medicine, is amazing! Now, we have to spread the word and show our support for the T-CPR program in Arkansas! T-CPR is essential to save the lives of sudden cardiac arrest victims throughout our state.

Thank you for reading along, everyone! As always, I am so happy to talk to you guys this month and I hope you all enjoyed!!

All the love,

Hannah Walker

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