When we first started offering CPR training courses in Portland, most of our trainees were nurses, radiologists, medical technicians, and other people in healthcare. However, as the years went by and the awareness for proper training in CPR went up, more and more parents, teachers, and office workers started enrolling our programs.
All of the programs are certification courses, which award students with certificates that are valid for two years. Today, we have one general public program while the rest are targeted toward allied health workers.
The difference between Basic and Advanced Life Support training
Under the Basic Life Support category, there are three training programs. One of them is targeted towards the public while the other two (as well as both ALS courses) are for healthcare providers. Basic courses cover basic skill training in CPR, focusing on chest compressions, rescue breaths, and defibrillation. They also teach trainees about basic first aid skills in wound care and bandaging.
There are no requirements prior to enrolling in a Basic Life Support class. However, the trainee has to pass a certification test at the end of training. For the general public course, the certification test is just a skills test while for the other courses it is a written and skills test.
- Heartsaver CPR – four hours; general public; one-person rescue and first aid
- Heartsaver CPR C – four and a half hours; healthcare providers (HCP); one-person rescue and first aid
- Basic Life Support for HCPs – four and a half hours; one and two-person rescue, first aid, and Basic Life Support guidelines
The Advanced Life Support category only has two programs: ACLS for adult cases and PALS for pediatric cases. ALS courses are advanced training programs for allied health professionals, teaching them how to give medical management to cases of cardiac arrest. Medical management involves the use of medication, supportive equipment, and diagnostic examinations like ECGs. An ALS course will introduce a trainee to common medications used during a code and equipment like ventilatory support devices.
To apply for ALS training, the trainee has to have a valid Basic Life Support for HCPs credential. There are pre-tests and post-tests that the trainee has to pass as well. Both tests are written and skill tests. Also, both programs take two days to complete.
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support – 16 hours; HCPs; adult cases of cardiac arrest
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support – 14 hours; HCPs; pediatric cases of cardiac arrest
Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
The term pediatric typically refers to cases younger than 18 years old but in ALS training, pediatric is used to refer to infants and toddlers. When CPR is given to infants, only two fingers are used to give compressions. The chest is depressed by one and a half inches. For toddlers and younger children, only one hand is used to compress the chest by two inches. When children are older, the same limits are used as when giving CPR to adults.