The COVID-19 pandemic is a dynamically changing situation and it is important that the College of Paramedics keeps its members updated on the latest and best evidence. The College is also keen to rapidly share any new treatment guidelines for patients where there are safety implications on clinical practice.
One such issue is the management of a cardiac arrest, where there is a need to wear appropriate PPE to adequately protect the clinicians on scene and safely manage the patient. This is particularly so during an aerosol-generating procedure (AGP). The College Board has considered and discussed this and has agreed that, given the limited evidence available, and for the consideration of its members, we recommend and concur with the position of the Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) that chest compressions are an AGP and that staff should wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to deal with such situations.
The RCUK’s latest statement says, “During CPR, there is always the potential for rescuers to be exposed to bodily fluids, and for procedures (e.g. chest compressions, tracheal intubation or ventilation) to generate an infectious aerosol.
” We therefore strongly recommend that Level 3 PPE is used for all cardiac arrest situations or airway management where there is any possibility of COVID-19 being present, (www.resus.org.uk/media/statements/resuscitation-council-uk-statements-on-covid-19-coronavirus-cpr-and-resuscitation
) The College of Paramedics recognises the challenge that this may cause employers, and we know that many trusts are already working to this principle, but it is the professional body’s responsibility to inform our members of our position and to review further evidence as it emerges.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued professionalism and dedication.