Are you confident you would know what to do if you witnessed someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest? Unfortunately, only about 46 percent of people that experience an out of hospital cardiac arrest get the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives. And, about 90 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die.
Those stats are staggering. And, residents living in one of Colorado’s rural communities, face their own unique healthcare challenges like insufficient access to primary care and other healthcare services. This results in poorer health outcomes, higher costs, and higher acuity conditions at the time of treatment. The Colorado Rural Health Center’s 2022 Snapshot of Rural Health in Colorado states that 77% of the state’s landmass is considered rural, with a population of over 722,000 people.
Moffat Consolidated School District #2 made the decision to put the health and safety of their students first, and recently adopted a program to improve cardiac emergency response in their district. The district located in Moffat, is a rural community in southern Colorado. There are no hospitals or ambulance services, the health clinic is only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the closest hospital is 50 miles away.
Sarah Elchols, district nurse of Moffat Consolidated School District #2 saw the tremendous need to implement a cardiac emergency response plan in her community. Sarah brought together key stakeholders and worked with the American Heart Association to create a plan that includes CPR and AED training, regularly scheduled practice drills, AED placement, and an annual review of the plan. In addition, AEDs have been placed areas of the school that are most commonly used by students, school staff and community groups. Cell phones have also been installed under each AED, so bystanders are quickly able to call 911 and execute the first step in the chain of survival.
This community-driven intervention was built to enhance and sustain health neighborhoods, strengthen family’s communication on heart health, and increase the safety and cardiac response times among faculty, staff, students, and community members of Moffat.
The AHA is able to get more rural communities in Colorado the CPR training and access to AEDs that so many desperately need thanks to the support from our generous sponsor Global Medical Response (GMR). Through GMR’s financial support, the AHA is working to get every school district in Colorado the lifesaving training of CPR.