Spokane Journal of Business

Adapting first aid, CPR training to be used on infants

Providence instructor finds strong demand for classes

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Providence Health Care class instructor Clair Bennett says an infant/child first aid and CPR class she proposed and then launched about a year and a half ago with the Spokane-based health care system’s blessing is attracting the strong interest that she thought it would.

The class provides instruction on how to help a choking infant or young child, as well as basic first aid for children, including for minor burns, cuts, allergic reactions, bleeding, head and eye injuries, bites, stings, and seizures, and guidance on when to call 911. As an additional option, it also can provide guidance on newborn care, including in areas such as feeding, swaddling, and soothing a fussy baby.

The classes typically are offered a couple of times of month at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital, at 101 W. Eighth, on the lower South Hill, and at the Providence Medical Park, at 16528 E. Desmet Court, in Spokane Valley. However, Bennett says she adds classes as needed to accommodate demand and earlier this month held three classes in one week.

She says the classes attract a mix of new parents, grandparents, babysitters, nannies, and even just young people who are thinking about pursuing a career in health care, and include the use of infant and child mannequins to make the training as lifelike as possible.

“I love it because it’s something I’m really passionate about,” says Bennett, a certified emergency medical technician who teaches the classes when not working at her normal day job as a medical assistant and office manager at Coeur d’Alene Primary Care PLLC, at 2065 W. Riverstone Drive in Coeur d’Alene.

“I just think I have an amazing job, and I’m very blessed to be able to do this,” she says. “To actually give these parents confidence (when they leave a hospital with a newborn child) … It really is a very rewarding job, and I’m very thankful that Providence let me go for it.”

A British native, Bennett says she owned a business in London that offered childbirth education classes. She completed her EMT training and became an EMT instructor after moving to the U.S. She’s been teaching Providence Health Care childbirth education classes here for about six years and says she’s enjoyed serving in that role.

She says her idea for a separate class focused specifically on first aid and CPR procedures for infants and young children arose partly out of her realization that many new parents, when they leave the hospital with their infant, lack the confidence that they would know what to do in an emergency.

In her childbirth education classes, Bennett would touch on the subject of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, and she says, “I would see the fear in parents’ eyes.”

In a typical scenario, she says, “We give them a baby, and they go home and—all of a sudden—reality hits” about the infant-related emergencies that potentially could occur.

For babies released from hospital neonatal intensive care units, Bennett says, parents typically must take a first aid-CPR class before they can take the infants home.

However, she adds, “Those parents weren’t really in a good place to acknowledge what was going on. It’s not like they were willing participants as such. I started thinking we really need to offer these parents more. I went to my boss at Providence and said we really need to offer a class (focused on infant and child first aid and CPR) if people want it.”

She says, “They said give it a go, let’s do it once a month and see how it goes. I’m so thrilled that it’s grown so fast.”

Of the classes, Bennett says, “We start off with first aid, and we teach real basic stuff. I’m not trying to scare parents—that’s not my job—but I want them to have a reality check.”

She says class graduates leave “feeling a lot more competent.”

The classes typically last three hours, and Bennett says she limits them to 10 couples per class. She says she uses an American Heart Association-approved methodology for the CPR training, which she says is the most accepted standard globally.

People who would like to take the class can register and pay online at www.providence.org/infantchildCPR,  and the cost is $30 for two people, with $10 off that fee if a couple also is taking Providence’s childbirth education class.

Upcoming classes at Sacred Heart currently are scheduled for Aug. 8, Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Nov. 14, and Dec. 12—all Saturdays—from 1 to 4 p.m. in the hospital’s main floor Avista Classroom. Upcoming classes at the Providence Medical Park building in Spokane Valley currently are scheduled for Aug. 19, Sept. 16, Oct. 14, Nov. 18, and Dec. 18—all Wednesdays—in a second floor conference room there. Bennett says additional classes are added as currently scheduled classes fill up.

“We average about three a month because they do fill up pretty fast,” she says.

Providence Health Care offers several other CPR courses designed to meeting people’s varying needs. One of those is designed for health care providers and covers one- and two-rescuer situations when performing adult, child, or infant CPR.

It also teaches bag-mask ventilations, the use of automated external defibrillators (AED), and how to help someone who is choking. Providence describes it in a brochure as being ideal for physicians, dentists, nurses, EMTs, and others who work in health care.

The class includes a written and CPR skills test. Upon passing the class, participants receive a two-year certification card, which is included in the registration fee. Those fees are $70 for an initial four-hour class, and $50 for three-hour renewal classes.

Another course, called the Heartsaver Adult First Aid/CPR and AED Course, teaches participants the critical skills needed to respond to and manage a first aid, choking, or sudden cardiac arrest emergency in the first few minutes until emergency medical service providers arrive.

The brochure describes it as being ideal for members of the general public who work in schools, public places, offices, and job sites, or for “anyone who would like to know how to save a life.”

That four-hour class includes a CPR skills test, but no written test. Upon passing the class, participants received a two-year certification card, which is included in the $55 registration fee.

One other course that Providence offers is called the Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid/CPR and AED Course.  It’s a four-hour class that meets the regulatory requirements for child care workers in the U.S. It covers the four steps of first aid and teaches skills such as finding the problem, stop bleeding, bandaging, and using an epinephrine pen.

Kim Crompton
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