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Simulation Centre offers public peace of mind through lifesaving skills

Toronto, May 31, 2016

By Greg Winson

Sue Zelko teaches CPR techniques to a student
Sue Zelko, a simulation specialist in the Simulation Centre, teaches CPR techniques to a student. (Photo by Katie Cooper)

The Allan Waters Family Simulation Centre has begun offering cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator training to St. Michael’s patients and family members.

“We’ve offered lifesaving courses to our staff, including non-health care professionals, for quite a few years,” said Nazanin Khodadoust, the manager of the Simulation Centre. “But we wanted to extend this training to a group that was missing – our patients and their families and friends.”

The move was inspired in part by a cardiac arrest at a nearby health centre. A man suffered a cardiac arrest while playing squash. He was resuscitated using CPR and an AED, then brought to St. Michael’s. A member of the health centre contacted the Simulation Centre and requested CPR and AED training to prepare for any future incidents.

This led the team at the Simulation Centre to think about the benefits that CPR and AED training could have for St. Michael’s patients and families.

“We thought about our patients from the heart and vascular program, and how scared their family members and friends must be, going home not knowing what to do if something happens,” said Khodadoust. “As a family member, I’d want to know what do to if my loved one just collapsed in front of me.”

Engaging patients and families is an objective of the Education Strategic Plan.

Two of the centre’s simulation specialists, Sue Zelko and Ashley Rosen, received certification to teach CPR in the community. Zelko and Rosen promoted a pilot session of the program in the Victoria Lobby, and were met with a positive response.

“People felt this was a great initiative and thanked us for this training opportunity,” said Zelko.

   
Did you know?
Almost 80 per cent of all cardiac arrests occur in homes and public places, and 35 to 55 per cent are witnessed by a family member, co-worker or friend. (Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada)

Participants will learn basic resuscitation skills including early recognition of a cardiac arrest, how to call for help, chest compressions and how to use an AED. “This course is designed to bring basic life support knowledge to everyone in the community who is interested in learning the skills of CPR,” said Zelko.

The cost is $20. Participants receive a St. Michael's completion card, a Heart and Stroke Foundation resource booklet and a portable face mask.

For any inquiries on this course, contact CPR@smh.ca or 416-864-6060 ext. 77515.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.