Aim To pilot BLS teaching to secondary school students and evaluate whether it affected their willingness and competence to provide Basic Life Support (BLS). Bystander CPR can increase the survival rates of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest by twoto threefold, yet the numbers of bystander CPR are still low. High school students are a captive audience for learning and some Scandinavian countries have integrated BLS training as compulsory into their curriculums,with resultant significant improvements in survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. BLS training is not yet compulsory at UK schools.
Method Three paediatric registrars visited a local secondary school and provided BLS teaching to 23 students with no prior knowledge of BLS in a 60 min session. This was part of ongoing collaborative work between Paediatrics and the school and supported the topic of ‘Care Values’. After the teaching session, students were divided into three groups and each student had the opportunity to run a simple simulation scenario and practice their newly acquired CPR skills on an adult mannequin (based on the 2015 ILCOR guidelines). A student questionnaire, adapted from a validated Red Cross questionnaire, was administered after the teaching session.
Results Post session, the majority of students showed willingness to assist if they witnessed someone collapse (96%). All students (100%) reported that they would make a 999 call and 83% would direct a bystander to make the call while they initiated BLS. An overwhelming majority of students (96%) reported that post session they felt confident to provide BLS if needed. The teaching session received excellent feedback from the students, whose opinion was that all students at school should be taught BLS.
Conclusion BLS teaching delivered as part of the school curriculum was very well received by the students and led to significant gain in confidence in performing BLS. We propose that BLS training should become a compulsory part of the UK educational curriculum to increase the BLS trained population, thus increasing rates of bystander CPR and ultimately increasing survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
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