Caroline Scott-Lang – team leader; Naomi Hosking – co-developer; Bea Liddell; Practice Champions manager, Connecting Care for Children; Fran Cleugh, Paediatric A+E consultant
Knowing how to perform basic life support can be lifesaving. Our team already ran BLS classes for parents and carers, but doctors and nurses at Imperial wanted to support international Restart a Heart Day, to help young people learn an essential skill and build relationships with local schools.
Specific: We planned to deliver adult basic life support training sessions in two local schools, across different year groups, on Restart a Heart Day 2016 (Tuesday 18th October). Schools were selected by a Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine and the Connecting Care for Children (CC4C) team who had previously established interest in outreach teaching by the hospital team. Teachers liaised with clinical staff in advance to identify the numbers involved. Faculty was drawn from the Imperial Emergency Medicine, Paediatric Emergency Medicine, and Paediatrics departments. Staff were cross-covered from clinical duties where required. BLS mannequins were provided by the Trust resuscitation team. 90 minute teaching sessions were delivered at Westminster Academy and Queens Park schools. Emphasis was on children feeling comfortable with the technique of BLS whilst teaching them why we do what we do and using interactive discussion, video and role play to bring the session to life.
Measurable: Our aim was to teach BLS to as many children as practically possible on the day. Children’s understanding and technique was checked by experienced staff to ensure they had learned the skills safely. Although we did not collect formal feedback, verbal feedback and email contact from the schools afterwards was very positive. One child told us: “I feel like a hero, I can now save someone’s life.”
Attainable: Schools were consulted in advance to identify year groups who would engage well with the teaching and had time in their programmes to accommodate the session. The team took guidance on what would be helpful and we agreed our lesson plans with their teachers. Key teaching objectives were agreed by the teams visiting each site and adult BLS was taught according to St John’s Ambulance standards. The biggest resource required was clinical time, but the skill to be taught is a basic one and we were able to recruit faculty from a range of specialties and clinical roles (nursing, medical, outreach practitioners). This enabled us to have a faculty of 10 clinical staff without impacting on the running of the departments involved. Relevant: Knowing how to perform BLS is an essential life skill and empowering young people with the knowledge of how to respond in an emergency can be hugely beneficial. The Imperial teams were keen to develop relationships with local schools and raise our profile both locally and nationally, using social media to engage with a large-scale event.
Time bound: As the event was to take place on a specific date, all planning was done with this in mind and took place over a short period of time (around 2-3 weeks).
After the success of the first events, run in 2 schools, we now know we have a sustainable model and the potential for an annual event that can grow to include more children.
– have built relationships with local schools – have developed a reproducible lesson plan that has been well received by students – closer working relationships with staff from other teams (Emergency Medicine, Outreach team) – effective use of social media to join in national campaigns – commitment to join national efforts on an annual basis
This is a simple but essential skill that most clinicians would feel comfortable teaching to others. Children and their schools are very receptive to hospital teams reaching out to deliver this teaching. Pinning a project to a national event (e.g. Restart a Heart day) can provide a platform for better engagement.