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Infant CPR Anytime Kits Presented to DCH NICUs by American Heart Association & Reese Phifer Jr. Memorial Foundation

CPR Anytime kits presented to NICUs at DCH Regional Medical Center and Northport Medical Center.

The American Heart Association, DCH Health System and the Reese Phifer, Jr. Memorial Foundation have teamed up to ensure that West Alabama newborns are protected in the event of a cardiac emergency.

The Reese Phifer, Jr. Memorial Foundation provided funding for 15 Infant CPR Anytime Kits to be presented to the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa and Northport Medical Center in Northport. Many of the kits will be given directly to parents of newborns in the NICU, while some of the kits will be kept at the hospitals to be available for all parents who come through there to view. 

"We are very excited to make this resource available to our NICU parents," said Janice Neill, assistant administrator for Patient Care Services at DCH. "These parents are already facing unique challenges resulting from having a child spend time in the NICU. We’re happy to be able to give them some peace of mind, knowing that they can perform life-saving CPR in the event of an emergency."

The American Heart Association presented a portion of the kits to DCH representatives at Regional Medical Center on June 6, in conjunction with CPR Awareness Week.  Robert Kuhn of Capstone Bank, the chairman of the AHA’s West Alabama Heart Walk, presented the kits to Traci Swann, the Nurse Manager for the NICU at DCH Regional Medical Center.  Click here to watch the presentation.

One of the kits was also presented to Rebekah and Brad Owens whose son, Benjamin, was born at 25 weeks and recently completed an 85 day stay in the NICU at RMC.  The parents were excited to learn the skills of infant CPR themselves and also to share the tools provided in the kit with family members and any babysitters that will be watching Benjamin.  In an effort to help others, they will also be sharing the kit with caretakers at their church nursery.

From left: Iralyn Sumerel, Regional Director of the West Alabama American Heart Association shows the  Infant CPR Anytime kit's inflatable learning manikin to parents Alexander and Chandria Shaw and Audra Montgomery, NICU Nurse Manager at Northport Medical Center.

The remainder of the Infant CPR Anytime kits were presented to the NICU at Northport Medical Center on June 17. NICU Nurse Manager Audra Montgomery was on hand to accept the kits on behalf of the hospital and she was overjoyed at the opportunity to share the lifesaving skills of CPR with parents whose children experience a stay in their unit.  She remarked that it is often not until an emergency occurs that the public thinks of learning CPR, but with access to these kits they will have the opportunity to learn these skills prior to discharge. 

Chandria and Alexander Shaw have been visitors to the Northport NICU a lot recently, as their daughter Courtney has experienced a lengthy stay there. When presented with one of the Infant CPR Anytime kits, they were thrilled that they would have the opportunity to learn techniques that could potentially save their daughter’s life in the case of an emergency.  They were especially excited to share resources of the kit with the two children they already have at home so that everyone in their household could be prepared.  

Nearly 80 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests today occur at home. Although other family members are often present, only eight percent of cardiac arrest victims survive. This is partly because most people who witness a cardiac arrest do not know CPR and are afraid to intervene. This is tragic since we know that bystander CPR initiated promptly can more than double or triple the chance for survival.  For parents, family members, and other caretakers of the precious babies in these NICU’s, knowing CPR affords greater peace of mind and gives comfort that they could act quickly and effectively to potentially save a life.

The Infant CPR Anytime kits include a CPR instructional DVD that teaches the core skills involved in administering CPR. It also includes an inflatable learning manikin that allows those being trained to practice their skills as they watch. The kit also shows how to relieve choking in a medical emergency. These Infant CPR Anytime kits are particularly beneficial for NICU parents who are sometimes overwhelmed by the volume of information and instructions typically given at the time of discharge. Because they own the kit, parents and other learners can refresh their skills at any time and share it with an unlimited amount of people.  

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