Swedish Covenant Hospital is launching an ambitious program to help save lives by bringing free CPR/AED training to the community.
“We recognized a critical opportunity to help save lives by empowering our community with tools to respond with confidence in an emergency cardiac arrest scenario,” said Anthony Guaccio, President and CEO of Swedish Covenant Hospital, which plans to train more than 400 individuals during the next year. “Heart disease and stroke are key priorities identified in our Community Health Needs Assessment, and this program helps address this critical need.”
The hour-long training is bystander CPR/AED training (not a full CPR certification training program), designed to help participants understand the signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and respond accordingly. The free training will feature interactive practice of “hands-only” CPR with a mannequin so individuals can understand how to properly perform chest compressions. The class will also demonstrate how simple it is to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), which has simple instructions built into it so users can push one button then listen to the robot’s instructions.
“In the Emergency Department, we have seen the life-saving benefits of CPR firsthand and we know that what happens in the minutes following a heart attack is critical,” said Kim Leslie, Emergency Department Clinical Director. “The sooner CPR is administered, the better it is for the patient’s outcome, and the experts help make the training memorable by including suggestions like doing compressions to the beat of the popular Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” which helps participants perform CPR effectively.”
Hospital leaders introduced the Illinois Heart Rescue Project at a recent community leader meeting where leaders responded with support and interest. Hospital staff is now working to set up training sessions with more than 40 local schools, faith communities and other neighborhood organizations. And new organizations are invited to schedule a free training session.
This wide-reaching initiative follows last year’s Summer Social event, which helped promote safety by distributing 1,000 free bike helmets to the community. “We are constantly working to develop and execute programs that help make our community safer and healthier,” said Jenise Celestin, Director of Community Relations for the hospital, which offers more than 200 wellness programs annually. “We look forward to continuing to help make a positive impact on the health and safety of our community.”
The Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation is underwriting the cost of the program, which will be conducted by CPR-certified hospital staff while visiting partner locations. The training can also take place at the hospital if preferred.
To schedule a CPR training session, community groups can contact Maggie Simmons of the Swedish Covenant Hospital Emergency Department Education Team at masimmons@SwedishCovenant.org or 773-878-8200, ext. 6837.