A recent study has shown that cost, fear and a lack of information are some of the major reasons that many minority groups in U.S. cities don’t perform CPR, or even learn it. The study suggests that the way CPR classes are pitched may need to change, to get more people trained. For traditional, in-classroom courses, they were promoted to babysitters, daycare workers and lifeguards. That model involved setting up training centers and the community would go to those centers to learn. However, this research suggests that a more community-based approach is needed: bringing CPR to the doorstep of individuals by partnering with local churches or otherwise.
The researchers interviewed 42 residents in Columbus, Ohio. The study was published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes in the September 11, 2013 issue. A majority of the participants were aged 30 or older, black and female. Half of them lived in poor, high-crime neighborhoods, with two-thirds holding an annual household income of less than $20,000. While the study found that 83 percent of the participants were familiar with CPR, less than half had taken CPR within the previous three years.
Some of the barriers to learning CPR included the (sometimes high) cost of the class, the need for childcare during the class, and the need for transportation to and from the class. Those three things, along with the lack of information about CPR, and where to get trained are some of the reasons why we made our blended CPR training available.
Two other things the study revealed:
A lack of information available in languages other than English. This is something we hope to have available here, in the near future.
Participants were also afraid to perform CPR. In particular, they were afraid to perform CPR on children or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a stranger. Without the information about the importance of CPR, they didn’t know that hands-only CPR can be effective in saving a life. Moreover, participants worried that performing CPR on a stranger could create a potential threat to their personal safety, particularly in neighborhoods with high levels of violence, or lead to problems with police. They also worried about being sued.
In addition, the participants were worried that performing CPR on a stranger could pose a threat to their personal safety (particularly in neighborhoods with high levels of violence), lead to problems with police or put them at risk of being sued. If you’re curious about whether you can be sued for doing CPR on someone, watch our video on the five fears.
There’s an opportunity to change these perceptions, since four out of every five out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the home. Participants in the study suggested a few things that might help bring more awareness or participants to the CPR classes:
- Free CPR classes
- Providing allowances for childcare
- Gift cards for food
- Bus tokens for transportation
- Combining CPR with basic first aid training
- Offering certification or academic credit
- Promoting CPR as a job skill to help advance your professional career
- Emphasis that CPR can save the lives of family members and other loved ones