Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas became the first hospital in the world to implement the American Heart Association’s new Resuscitation Quality Improvement (RQI) Program. Both clinical and non-clinical employees are participating in this enhanced CPR training, designed to help maintain skills and improve patient outcomes. The intent of the RQI Program is to help sustain high-quality CPR though continuous practice.

According to the American Heart Association, less than 1 in 5 patients who experience cardiac arrest in the hospital survive. The 2013 AHA consensus statement, “Strategies for Improving Survival After In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in the United States: 2013 Consensus Recommendations,” highlights substantial evidence that basic and advanced life support skills decay rapidly after initial CPR training, and skill performance should be assessed during the two-year certification with reinforcement provided as needed.

AHA’s RQI Program is designed to help hospitals maintain competency and should help achieve better patient outcomes through quality improvement, according to the AHA.

The current guidelines for life support education require certification every two years.

“We’ve found that skills can deteriorate within three to six months after the course, particularly if the skills aren’t used regularly” said Alex Klacman, B.S.N., R.N., B.C., CCRN, clinical educator at Texas Health Dallas. “With the new training method, employees complete 10 minute skill sessions on a quarterly basis giving them an opportunity for ongoing skills maintenance.”

The American Heart Association has also designed the program to be mobile. Fifteen rolling workstations have been placed throughout the hospital with a simulation manikin and a monitor attached, giving real time audio and visual feedback to the employees.

“The manikins were designed to be as life-like as possible so they give the same amount of resistance as you would get completing chest compressions on a human body,” Klacman added.

Each participant completes a different skill every 90 days while gaining instant feedback through audio and visual coaching.

“It’s encouraging when you hear ‘good job’ or ‘press harder’ during chest compressions,” said Dede Scholl, B.S.N., R.N.C., manager of the special care nursery at Texas Health Dallas. “The feedback is immediate allowing you to learn the proper technique.”

For educators this tool has been invaluable when measuring skills. With the objective data collected, the program can be tailored to meet the needs of the individual employee.

“My team was surprised with how easy it is and the fact that they don’t have to leave the unit to go to a class has really made a difference,” Scholl said.

In addition to better patient outcomes, the hospital also projects an annual savings of more than $300,000 due to less classroom instruction and travel costs.

“We are excited to be the first in the world to fully implement this new program. As a Magnet designated organization we are continually innovating and looking for innovative affiliates for our quality nurses,” said Cole Edmonson D.N.P., R.N., FACHE, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer at Texas Health Dallas. “This type of simulation is the future of continuing education and helps us to continue our mission of improving the health of people in our community.”

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