The Basic Life Support or BLS training provides a wide variety of healthcare professionals the ability to recognize different life-threatening emergencies, such as choking, provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) in a safe, timely and effective manner.
Basic life support can be provided by trained medical personnel, such as doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, physician’s assistants, residents or fellows, or medical or nursing students in training, aides, medical or nursing assistants who have obtained BLS training. It is also useful for many other professions, such as daycare providers, coaches, teachers, personal trainers, security personnel and social workers. Their contact with many different people and their exposure to various circumstances where medical emergencies can occur make BLS training a good opportunity for acquiring basic lifesaving skills that may come in handy.
What is Basic Life Support?
Basic life support is the level of medical care given to patients with life-threatening conditions until they can be given full medical attention in a hospital. Therefore, it is generally used in the pre-hospital setting, and can be provided without medical equipment or drugs.
Basic life support involves various life-saving techniques that focus on CAB of pre-hospital emergency care:
- Circulation – techniques which are done to maintain an adequate blood supply to vital organs, to ensure oxygen delivery to all cells and remove metabolic waste
- Airway – management of the victim’s airway to protect and maintain a clear passageway for gases between the lungs and the atmosphere.
- Breathing – maintenance of rhythmic inflation and deflation of the lungs to ensure adequate respiration
BLS training provides healthcare providers enough confidence and skills necessary to give lifesaving aid to a person who needs emergency care due to injury or illness. Examples of life-threatening circumstances include heart attacks, stroke, choking, drowning, bleeding and more.
Healthcare providers who complete BLS training receive a certification that is valid for two years. Renewal of certification may be required thereafter.
2010 AHS Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care
BLS Training is important especially because guidelines for lifesaving are constantly updated based on observations and studies that evaluate the effectiveness and safety of current guidelines. Even for the well trained healthcare providers, changes in algorhythms and new recommendations need to be learned.
Finally, although CPR can be performed by any bystander, trained or untrained, the quality of CPR performed is crucial to the survival of the victim. BLS training for healthcare providers will help improve a patient’s chances for surviving a life threatening emergency situation.
Berg RA, Hemphill R, Abella BS, Aufderheide TP, Cave DM, Hazinski MF, Lerner EB, Rea TD, Sayre MR, Swor RA. Part 5: Adult basic life support: 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Circulation. 2010;122(suppl 3):S685–S705.