Pediatric Advanced Life Support is an important training program that is the result of a combined effort between the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Developed in 1988, the program has since been revised twice: in 1994 and 1997. This course’s intent is to help pediatric healthcare providers learn the skills necessary to deal with critically ill babies or infants and children. It has been proven that early identification of respiratory failure can improve the survival rate from a low 10 percent to a much higher 85-90%.
Pediatric Advanced Life Support is a way to keep children stable while they are being transported, especially during an emergency, either into or out of a hospital. The course is generally 14 hours in length, though it can be much longer depending on who is teaching the course and where the course is taught.
Pediatric Advanced Life Support does not only teach people how to deal with infants and children who are critically ill but also shows caregivers how to recognize the signs of potential cardiac arrest. Thus, the course is as much about identifying the signs or about prevention as it is dealing with the actual cardiac arrest or illness. This course provides people with a uniform or systematic approach to dealing with infants and children who are critically ill.
Those who teach the class generally practice their life support skills in a full-time capacity in some sort of emergency facility (i.e. hospitals, ambulances, etc.). They are experts in their field. Upon the completion of a Pediatric Advanced Life Support course, the individual is given a Pediatric Advanced Life Support Provider card. This card lasts or is valid for two years, and it can be renewed by taking a Pediatric Advanced Life Support Renewal course before the end of the expiration month.
The following skills are taught in a Pediatric Advanced Life Support course: recognition and treatment of infants and children at risk for cardiac arrest, respiratory management, effective resuscitation, among other skills and systematic approaches to life threatening issues with infants and children.
It is recommended that anyone working with children go through a Pediatric Advanced Life Support course. Obviously, anyone working in a hospital – nurses, aides, doctors, etc. – should be well-informed about Pediatric Advanced Life Support and its approach to treating critically ill infants and children. Additionally, more and more teachers and childcare professionals are investing in this training as a precautionary method.
American Red Cross, American Heart Association (AHA), and American Health and Safety Institute guidelines. Instructors available on site.
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