Cases of heart attack are on the rise and everyone at an increased risk. Studies show that heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States. One person dies from heart illnesses every 36 seconds in the United States.
A larger population spends more time at work than anywhere else. Heart attack is not uncommon at the workplace as it can affect perfectly healthy persons while undertaking routine tasks. Knowing the signs, symptoms and how to act in case of heart attack will help in early recognition as well as management of such cases to save lives. Whenever a person experiences heart attack, every second counts. Unfortunately, heart attack occurs unexpectedly without warning signs.
How Does Heart Attack Occur?
Heart attack results from the blockage of blood vessels supplying the heart. The cause of the blockage could be blood clots or narrowing of blood vessels from plaque build up in the form of fat, cholesterol and other substances. Heart attack is fatal as it can result in death within minutes while in other cases it results in permanent damage to the heart and brain. Wherever a heart attack occurs the heart stops pumping blood and the victim falls unconscious. In some instances the person has difficulty in breathing while others stop breathing all together. The signs of heart attack victim vary from one person to the other. These symptoms include: shortness of breath or difficult breathing, feeling of heaviness around the heart, arms and legs, cold sweats, nausea and vomiting.
How Employers Can Ensure That Their Employees Are Ready for an Heart Attack Emergency
Training on how to save a heart attack victim is critical as it enables you to recognize persons experiencing heart attacks and act within the shortest time possible without panicking. It is basic for organizations to ensure their staff are regularly trained on the performance of CPR and administration of the AED. Among the advantages of getting CPR certification is that you get the confidence to attend to heart related emergencies and save lives. Employees holding CPR certification are an asset to the organization. Providing these skills to your members of staff is a great show of good will.
- CPR training: Having a CPR certified individual at the workplace could make a big difference. Whenever a person goes into a heart attack it is only by offering CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) that you can save their lives. In this case you need to be aware of the state of the victim through assessment of their breathing. If in doubt start CPR immediately as it is unlikely to cause any harm even for healthy persons. CPR process entails chest compressions that create an artificial heart beat. It ensures that the blood remains in circulation throughout the victim’s body and major organs such as the brain don’t suffer from oxygen deficiency.
CPR is a critical life saving technique, for persons experiencing heart attack. To Perform CPR, you need to locate the middle of the victim’s chest and press hard by using the heels of your hand with fingers interlocked at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. This procedure is easy to follow, even for non professionals. However, to provide high quality chest compressions there is a need for training. High quality CPR creates blood flow keeping the victim alive before emergency medical response arrives.
The depth of chest compressions is also critical in sustaining blood circulation. It differs from adults and children, therefore the pressure applied is not the same. Each compression should go up to a depth of one third of the victim’s chest. The rescuer should allow for complete chest recoil after each compression. Every 30 compressions are followed by two rescue breaths. If the rescuer is not comfortable offering mouth to mouth, high quality chest compressions only (hands only CPR) is adequate to keep the victim alive for sometime as you await specialized help.
Organizations can train their employees on performance of CPR or make it a basic requirement at the time of recruitment staff. The courses are available online. Certified institutions provide high quality skills. There are certain advantages of taking online CPR certification programs. It allows for flexibility, employees can take up the training at their own free time without pressure. The courses are also readily available and there is no need to schedule up CPR classes. Certification is also instantaneous upon meeting the minimum requirements.
CPR classes also do not have any restrictions in terms of education levels and age, which makes them available for anyone. They are also cost friendly, you will only pay a few dollars and the budget doesn’t press too much on your pockets. Employers who would wish to have CPR skilled workforce can pay for them without incurring much cost. Given the benefits of CPR skills, such a move would prove useful in staff development.
- AED training: Then use of the AED is covered under CPR classes. It is critical for organizations to have skilled personnel who are able to effectively operate the AED when necessary. CPR on its own is not effective in restoring the normal heart rhythm for cardiac arrest victims. The AED is a device that analyses the heart rhythm and instructs if the victim is in need of shock to restore their heart beat. Ventricular fibrillation is a common cause for heart attack. When the heart is in ventricular fibrillation, there is a lot of chaos and the ventricles are not pumping blood. In this case, the heart requires a shock to reverse the condition and restore it’s normal functionality. Studies show that early use of the device increases the chances of survival by 60%.The device is easy to use even for non professionals, however, training is required to operate effectively. It is easily portable and operates with a battery.
Aside from the training, employers should ensure that they have a functional AED device which is easily accessible by anyone. The device should be checked regularly to ensure it is in good condition. When the device is readily available, there is no need to await emergency medical services to arrive. It therefore saves on time wasted and increases the chances of survival. The AED should be placed at convenient places where it can be easily accessed by every member of staff. It is recommended that the AED be placed at places where people work closely together or with large crowds.
Since its discovery, the AED has saved millions of lives across the world. Having the device only is not enough as it requires skills to operate. Just like for CPR certification, the skills require constant renewal. Without use, it is likely that employees trained on CPR and AED certification will forget some basic concepts which compromises on their ability to effectively save lives. CPR and AED certification is valid for two years after which the holder is required to take a recertification program. Employers who wish to have a CPR skilled workforce, need to ensure that their certifications are up to date.
Employers should promote a healthy work environment. At the current age, people spend most of their time at work. Among the major causes of heart attack are lifestyle related and psychological.
To Promote a Healthy Work Environment, Employers Should:
- Lower Stress and Pressure: Stress at the workplace is very common. A major cause of the pressure is unmet and pressing goals set by employers. While businesses need to achieve their goals, they should provide targets that are achievable by their employees while at the same time stretching their abilities. Proper planning is also key as it ensures that the employees have smaller easily achievable targets oriented to the big picture. Organizations should also ensure a work life balance for their employees through flexibility and friendly working hours. It is also important to listen to staff and keep them part of the decision making processes.
- Promoting Healthy Diet: Organizations should ensure that the food they provide for their employees is heart friendly. Certain foods are known to increase the risk of heart attack. These foods include: processed foods, foods high in processed sugar and animal proteins. Employees should keep their employees tuned to healthy living by providing proper education in their stuff development programs.
- Providing Physical Work Out Opportunities: Employers should also provide workout opportunities for their employees. They can do so by providing free gym memberships. Some businesses have created gyms for their employees which are available during non-working hours.
Heart attack is a leading cause of death. A healthy heart ensures effectiveness of an individual in undertaking tasks. Employers who are constantly concerned about the well-being of their employees are more likely to benefit from increased output. Staff development is the best way to keep employees motivated. For employee centered institutions, the development of staff moves away from the organizational goals to personal health. Given the increasing risk of heart attack at the workplace, employers need to prepare for such emergencies.
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