Follow-up of first aiders is a completely new concept where people who have performed life-saving first aid (eg CPR) or been present when first aid has been performed to an unconscious patient, receives follow-up from the public health service. The project started in November 2020, and by July 2021 over 40 first aiders has taken advantage of the offer. These are people who have experienced cases of cardiac arrest, CPR, serious injuries,suicide and the like.
People from all walks of life have stopped by, both young and old. There is also a great time span in when the first aid situation took place, ranging from a few days to many decades. Most come alone, while some prefer to show up together with others who were present in the same first aid situation. Some find comfort in being accompanied by someone close e.g. a spouse. Our experience is that many have strong sensory impressions, like visual, sound and smell. This has affected them for a long time afterwards. Although most people outwardly seem to have handled the incident well, it is a great relief for many to talk about the experience together with experienced health professionals.
Many of the first aiders have questions of a medical nature, so a considerate amount of time is spent on answering questions. The questions create many concerns, but can often be easily answered. Some wonder if cardiac arrest is hereditary, one may wonder about something the paramedics did or did not do, or what is the correct behaviour in sertain situations.
Many are experiencing feelings of guilt or shame for not having performed sufficient first aid, especially in cases where the patient did not survive. In these cases it can be comforting to be informed about the fact that 5 out of 6 cardiac arrest patients die, even
if good CPR has been performed. If the patient dies the cause can be due to different circumstances, and it can help to learn this from professionals.
Some wonder a lot about whether the patient survived or not, without having the opportunity to come up with this information. In those cases we offer to check the outcome of the patient (survival or not). If the patient or relatives agree, we communicate the outcome to the first aider. On the other hand, most who come to us already know the outcome. As many as 2/3 of the ones we have spoken to are relatives of the patient. This is no surprise, as 2/3 of all cardiac arrests outside of hospitals take place at home.
We find it best to carry out the follow-up conversations in person at our premises in Hillevågsveien 8 in Stavanger. Currently Stavanger is the only city holding such facilities, but we still offer follow-up to first aiders from all over the country. For those who live far away or who for other reasons are unaible to show up for the conversation, e.g. because of. korona, we offer follow-up via Teams or telephone.
We are working on expanding the offer to all health trusts in the country with associated local offices. AMK Innlandet has already started a similar project in collaboration with us at RAKOS, and will officially start over the summer. We are very happy about that.
In addition we collaborate with AMK Haugesund who refers first aiders to RAKOS. We hope to include more health trusts in the future.
We have experienced media exposure the last six months. Here are links to some of the news:
- Sykepleien.no: Etter å ha gitt hjerte- og lungeredning til datteren, trengte Elisabeth
hjelp selv (sykepleien.no)