2021 Resuscitation Guidelines

There are no major changes in the 2021 Basic Life Support Guidelines for Adult or Paediatric First Aid
Key Points in the guidelines emphasise actions to take with non-breathing casualties, with fast access to emergency services and use of an AED. The introduction to the Guidelines states:

‘Guidelines 2021 prioritises supporting members of our communities to have the confidence, knowledge and skills to act when someone sustains an out of hospital cardiac arrest. Few major changes have been introduced as the principles of CPR remain unchanged. The guidelines emphasise that it is more important that people feel able to do something to help than they become focused on small details or concerned about causing harm. No greater harm can occur than failing to act when someone requires CPR and defibrillation.’

A Summary of the key messages are:
How to recognise cardiac arrest- Start CPR in any unresponsive person with absent or abnormal breathing – slow, laboured breathing should be considered a cardiac arrest. Seizure-like movements may also be an indicator.
How to alert the emergency services– use speaker phone function to enable the emergency operator to guide the rescuer.
High-quality chest compressions– the quality of compressions at the right depth and speed is highlighted, with as few interruptions as possible.
Rescue breaths – If you are trained to do so, after 30 compressions, provide 2 rescue breaths, if you are unable or unwilling to provide ventilations, give continuous chest compressions.
How to find an AED – The location of an AED should be indicated by clear signage. Ambulance services should have available up to date information on defibrillator locations,  continue CPR whilst the pads are being attached, follow the spoken prompts from the AED.
Rescuer Safety– Members of the public should start CPR for presumed cardiac arrest without concerns of causing harm to those not in cardiac arrest. Members of the public may safely perform chest compressions and use an AED as the risk of infection during compressions and harm from accidental shock during AED use is very low.
Foreign body airway obstruction– choking algorithms remain the same as the 2015 guidelines.
Recovery Position For adults and children who do not meet the criteria for the initiation of rescue breathing or chest compressions (CPR) –RCUK recommends they be placed into a lateral, side-lying recovery position, with the optimal positions unchanged from the 2015 guidelines. The key message is  the importance of maintaining a close check to ensure that breathing remains normal. If trauma is affecting breathing, the recovery position may not be appropriate, unless you are forced to leave the casualty.
To read the full  Adult Basic Life Support Guidelines click here