TROY – When a hospital committee discovered the need for an Automated External Defribrillator (AED), the FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation stepped in to help fill the void, donating $1,000 to purchase one of the lifesaving devices for the first floor of FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital.
Education Coordinator Michelle Yarboro (left) and Beth Walker, chief operating officer/chief nursing officer, look at the Automated External Defribrillator that was recently acquired for FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital by the FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation.
“The Foundation was pleased to be able to help with the equipment purchase,” says Jim Allen, vice chair of the FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation. “We know that the Montgomery Memorial Hospital staff takes pride in our hospital and its services, and this special project is a good example of FirstHealth’s core purpose – to care for people.”
An AED, which is about the size of a laptop computer, is an electronic device that can be used to help revive a person who has experienced sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The AED analyzes the misfiring electrical impulses interrupting the heart’s rhythm and then, if needed, delivers an electrical shock to jolt the heart back to a normal beat.
According to the American Red Cross, up to 50,000 of the more than 300,000 SCA deaths in the U.S. each year might be prevented if CPR were to be started immediately and if an on-site AED were available for immediate use at the time of the emergency. The computerized AED is so easy to use that even an untrained rescuer can be prompted in how to use it.
According to Beth Walker, Montgomery Memorial’s chief operating officer/chief nursing officer, the recommendation for a first-floor AED followed a mock survey preceding the hospital’s most recent Joint Commission re-accreditation visit. As part of the mock event, hospital employees pulled an emergency cord in the CT Department to determine Code Blue (medical emergency) response time and found “some opportunities to improve protocols that would reduce our response time,” Walker says.
As a result, a team consisting of nursing, cardiopulmonary and ancillary personnel was developed to look at hospital-wide Code Blue procedures. Among various measures, code team roles were revised and clarified and crash carts containing lifesaving equipment and medications were moved to more centralized locations.
Michelle Yarboro, R.N., the hospital’s education coordinator, facilitated the Code Blue investigation team. Nursing Director Susan Davey, R.N., served as team leader.
“We had a great interdisciplinary team of nurses and respiratory care staff who were passionate about making the Code Blue process better for the patient as well as for the team responding,” Yarboro says. “The group used their critical thinking skills to design a standard process. They volunteered for assignments, and they always had them completed, which enabled us to implement the new Code Blue process in a short period of time.”
During their look at the Code Blue process, members of the team discovered the vulnerability of the first floor where, because there is no patient care, there was no crash cart. Offices housing hospital Administration, Human Resources, Health Information Management Systems (medical records), Facilities and Housekeeping are located in the area that is near the hospital lobby and the Medical Arts Building.
“There’s a lot of traffic,” Walker says.
Previously, according to Yarboro, Code Blue personnel responding to a medical emergency in the area would have had to bring a crash cart down an elevator. “The AED will greatly improve the team’s response time, which will ultimately increase a patient’s chance of survival,” she says.
The new AED, which is portable, easy to use and conveniently located in a recessed cabinet in a centralized hallway, is part of what Walker calls “a better plan to respond quickly.” She is especially pleased that the recommendation to acquire the equipment came from the patient care personnel on the Code Blue investigation team.
“It was their idea,” she says.
For more information on the FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation, please call (910) 571-5024.