Lifesaving PAD Programs. (FYI)

By Freeman, David | Public Management, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Lifesaving PAD Programs. (FYI)


Freeman, David, Public Management


Here is a list of recommendations for managers of communities interested in undertaking a public-access defibrillation (PAD) program:

Step 1. Determine local needs. What is the survival rate for victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in your community? Are there high-traffic areas where people gather and where the risk of SCA is more concentrated?

Step 2. Know your legal protection. While there is good federal protection, most states also provide "Good Samaritan" coverage for automated external defibrillator (AED) users. AEDs used for early defibrillation are becoming a new standard of care.

Step 3. Build the team/identify community leaders and champions. A steering group of public officials, local governments, civic organizations, business professionals, and health care providers can plan and drive a comprehensive program. Early defibrillation programs need hands-on medical guidance to ensure quality, compliance with protocols, training, and support.

Step 4. Write an implementation plan. Key elements should include an emergency response plan to ensure rapid and appropriate response for the community, a program coordinator, equipment selection, training, ongoing maintenance, cost estimation, and data collection on SCA response and events.

Step 5. Raise public awareness and support. Use the media to educate the community, generate enthusiasm about the program, and help pave the way for funding and implementation.

Step 6. Find funds. Paying for your program may be easier than you think. Well-planned AED programs involve support from local government funds, donations from businesses, and the profits from fundraising events. Many times, AED programs are cost-effective, compared with more traditional methods of emergency response to SCA.

Here are some examples of communities that already have PAD programs:

Whitewater, Wisconsin (population 12,000, with an additional 10,000 students), has 25 AEDs deployed, 100 citizens trained, and has made five saves. The units are located in emergency vehicles, restaurants, factories, medical offices, hospitals, and country clubs. AEDs also are found at the University of Whitewater and at Whitewater High School. …

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