Which Type of CPR Is Recommended for Rescuers Without Full Training?

Sarah Jones
Close-up of hands performing CPR

In the critical moments following a sudden cardiac event, every second counts. The world of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can seem complex, especially with so many different techniques and guidelines circulating. For those who have not yet completed formal training, the question becomes: which type of CPR is recommended for rescuers without full training? This blog post answers some of the most common questions about CPR training with details on different learning options.

Types of CPR Trainings

There are several organizations and types of CPR training for both beginners and healthcare professionals. Knowing which to choose depends on whether or not you work in healthcare and/or your training requirements

CPR Training for the Public and Beginners

The American Heart Association and the Red Cross are the most commonly used training organizations for individuals outside of healthcare. Both provide courses ranging from basic to advanced, with many tailored for the general public. Local hospitals and community centers also sometimes offer CPR training for individuals not in healthcare.

Hands-Only CPR

With 70% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occuring at home, the American Heart Association recommends hands-only CPR for non-medical professionals. As the name suggests, hands-only CPR focuses solely on chest compressions. It doesn’t require any rescue breaths. In essence, you place your hands over the patient’s chest and push hard and fast, aiming for a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. For those who are not fully trained, it simplifies the process, removes the hesitation of mouth-to-mouth contact, and ensures that blood continues to circulate, keeping vital organs alive.

CPR Training for Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare professionals are required to obtain a CPR-related certification. These include Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). While these certifications can be earned directly from the American Heart Association and the Red Cross, there are other options. Organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA) and the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) meet the requirements for CPR certification and can be offered through an LMS platform that facilitates online, in-person, or blended training formats for staff. 

Are There Any Legal Implications for Performing CPR Without Training?

In many places, “Good Samaritan” laws protect non-healthcare professionals who assist others in emergencies. These laws often shield people from legal consequences if they acted in good faith, without gross negligence. Always check local regulations to understand the protections in place in your region.

What’s the Difference Between CPR for Adults, Children, and Infants?

CPR for Adults

For adults, either hands-only or traditional CPR can be performed. As mentioned, the emphasis is on strong, consistent chest compressions.

CPR for Children

For children, traditional CPR is often preferred because they’re more likely to suffer from respiratory problems leading to cardiac arrest. The compressions are gentler, using only one hand or just fingertips for infants.

CPR for Infants

Infants are delicate. CPR for them requires two fingers to provide compressions, and instead of the full mouth, you cover both the nose and mouth when giving breaths.

How Often Are CPR Guidelines Updated?

CPR guidelines typically undergo review every five years. Respected health organizations assess the latest research to ensure that the recommendations reflect current best practices.

How Can I Get Certified in CPR? 

Becoming CPR certified involves both learning the necessary skills and demonstrating proficiency in them. Begin by identifying a reputable training provider. The American Heart Association and the Red Cross are great options for the public, while healthcare organizations often supply CPR staff training through a learning management system. Whether you’re healthcare staff or not, you can begin by enrolling in a course that fits your needs or training requirements.

During the course, you’ll be taught the fundamentals of CPR, including chest compressions, rescue breathing, and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). After mastering these skills through practice and simulations, you’ll undergo an assessment to test your competence. Upon passing, you’ll be granted a CPR certification, typically valid for two years, after which a refresher course is recommended to maintain certification and stay updated with current guidelines.

CPR Training for Your Whole Organization

Responsible healthcare sites provide staff with flexible CPR training courses, accommodating busy provider schedules and equipping staff with essential life-saving skills. When seconds count in every medical emergency, your staff needs to be confident and ready to act. Consider a learning management system that offers online, in-person, or blended training options to keep your staff educated, refreshed, and compliant.