Resuscitation Council (UK) Guidelines 2015

adult resuscitation using a face shield

Every 5 years the European Resuscitation Council (ERC), the Resuscitation Council (UK) and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) review the latest research and evidence in resuscitation and then release updated guidelines. In addition to this, for the very first time, the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) have also produced guidelines for first aid these include new advice on bleeding and other vital updates.

Resuscitation Council (UK) 2015 Guidelines
There are a few changes to highlight here:

1. ‘Shouting for help’ is no longer a step to be taught on its own. The guidelines now state that the first aider should ‘ask someone to call 999/112’ after checking for normal breathing.

2. The new guidance also emphasises that people should use the speaker function on their phones so they can have hands free guidance from the emergency services whilst administering First Aid.

3. The new guidance highlights that seizure like episodes should not be confused with a sign of life. Seizure like episodes can occur following a cardiac arrest due to reduced blood flow to the brain. If the person does not appear to be breathing start CPR immediately. The guidelines also reinforces the importance of recognising Agonal Gasps and starting CPR if the casualty is not breathing normally.

European Resuscitation Council (ERC)

The ERC first aid guidelines are based on a worldwide expert consensus of best practice following an international evidence-based review from the ERC and ILCOR, making them an extremely important addition to first aid practice in Europe.

Key changes listed below:

Control of Bleeding:

• Elevation is no longer recommended for the treatment of bleeding as there is no evidence that this does actually reduce bleeding.
• Indirect pressure is not recommended as again there is no evidence that this helps control serious bleeding – direct pressure is recommended.
• Haemostatic dressings and tourniquets are to be used in catastrophic bleeding when direct pressure does not control blood loss. There will need to be specific training to use these and this should be included in specific First Aid courses where the Health and Safety Assessment shows a risk of catastrophic bleeding.
• Sucking chest wounds should now be left open to the environment and not covered with a dressing – the three sided dressing is no longer recommended as this has been shown to increase the risk of occlusion. Direct pressure should be used to control localised bleeding.

Treatment for Asthma – First aiders should all be trained in the various methods of administering an Asthma inhaler including spacer devices.

Treatment for Hypoglycaemia – first aiders to give 15-20 g of glucose or tablets for adult casualties.

Treatment for Heat Exhaustion – Oral Carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages (sports energy-rehydration drinks) now recommended for exertion related dehydration.
Specific sports energy-rehydration drinks have proven to be more effective than water as they also replace lost body salts. Evidence also suggests that semi-skimmed milk and tea can also be as effective as water

Treatment for Burns – Burns should be cooled as soon as possible with water for a minimum of 10 minutes. There is no change here to the advice that First Aid for Life has always given, but it is good to have this clarified and documented.

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