It’s always best to prepare for a cardiac arrest event within the workplace. No one ever wants to think of a loved one, colleague or school child having a cardiac arrest, but little is often said about what happens after.

There are important considerations related to people's emotions, equipment and the reporting of the incident. The subject should be discussed within the workplace so that an action plan can be put in place.

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Individuals

Firstly it’s important to consider the emotions of those involved in the cardiac arrest incident. It’s quite likely that the first aider / bystander will have initiated CPR and used the AED in the resuscitation process. This is both physically demanding and mentally draining for a non healthcare professional.

Senior management could help set up a debriefing with the local ambulance service for the individuals who have been involved. If this is not an option the individuals should consider speaking to their GP if they have any concerns over their general well being.

Data

During a cardiac arrest, the AED collects invaluable data about the casualty, which can be used in future research on prevention and treatment. The workplace involved should contact their local ambulance service to arrange for the data to be downloaded. In the unlikely event of another cardiac arrest the AED can still be used as normal.

The AED

The AED itself will need some basic maintenance before it is returned to its holding position. The electrode pads will need to be replaced, together with any other consumables such as resuscitation face shields. Take extra care to ensure there are no warning lights eg the low battery indicator.

Helpful hint - When in any doubt contact the manufacturer of the unit and follow their advice.

The worst case scenario is that the AED is not in a fit state for action. For example when the spare pads are missing. It’s vital that everyone in the workplace knows that this AED is not available, and also that the local ambulance authority are updated.

Reporting

If the cardiac arrest was the result of an accident or act of violence then it may constitute a reportable incident under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. Reporting can differ depending on who was involved i.e employee, visitor or a school child. Help is available via the below website

http://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/index.htm