row from left, Leigh Ann Leonard, RN, Forrest General NICU Patient Care manager; Amanda Littlejohn, The First, A National Banking Association; Eve Bauer, AHA regional director; Vicky Clems, NICU unit secretary; Stacy Duff, Heart Gala chairman; Millie Swan, Forrest Health vice president; Lucy Tucker Roberts, Gala chairman; Susan Olmstead, Gala chairman; and Tamara Brady, FGH NICU patient care coordinator
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (February 21, 2021) During February’s National Heart Month observance, three generous sponsors are providing 30 lifesaving infant CPR kits to Forrest General Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). These kits will be given to the parents of NICU babies to take home and learn lifesaving CPR skills.
Sponsors include Corner Market, Pine Belt Chevy & Courtesy Ford, and The First, A National Banking Association. The purchase of the CPR kits is part of the 2022 Heart Gala which raises funds for the American Heart Association. Stacy Duff, Lucy Tucker Roberts, and Susan Olmsted are serving as chairmen for this year’s event.
“The AHA mission this year is more about being involved in the community and giving back to the community,” said Amanda Littlejohn, vice president, The First, A National Banking Association. “At The First, we felt the best way to do that was through our medical partners and being able to help the infants of our area when they go home. The Infant CPR kits are an excellent way for us to give back.”
Lucy Tucker Roberts said as a parent to young children herself, it’s important to have kits such as these available for parents. “You never know when the need may arise and for parents to be able to educate themselves, and have access to kits such as these is so important,” she said.
Infant CPR Anytime kits contain everything needed to learn the lifesaving skills of infant CPR and infant choking relief in about 20 minutes in the comfort of one’s own home. The kits can also be used in hospital labor and delivery programs, including neonatal intensive care units, to teach skills to new parents, allowing nursing staff to focus on patient care.
Infant CPR Anytime is for new parents, grandparents, babysitters, nannies, and anyone who wants to learn lifesaving infant CPR and choking relief skills but does not need a course completion card to meet a job requirement.
Bringing a baby home from the hospital can be overwhelming, but it can be especially so for parents of critically ill infants. Infants requiring intensive care often have conditions that increase the risk of cardiorespiratory arrest after discharge. According to the National Institute of Health, preterm infants have more than twice as many cardiovascular malformations than infants born at term. A premature infant may also have difficulty breathing due to an underdeveloped respiratory system that prevents the lungs from fully expanding and contracting.
Leigh Ann Leonard, RN, patient care manager for Forrest General’s Neonatology Unit, as well as the Well Baby Nursery and Pediatrics, said the Infant CPR kits are a wonderful tool for Pine Belt families to be able to learn CPR. “They can then give the kit to someone else for them to learn,” she said. “From one kit, seven or eight families may be able to learn CPR, which then may save the life of that many infants in the Greater Pine Belt area.”
The need for parents of high-risk babies to be trained in the lifesaving skill of CPR is more pressing than ever. Under half (49 percent) of infants and children that had an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest received CPR. The likelihood of cardiac arrest is much higher in infants who needed intensive care at birth.
“The gift of these Pine Belt businesses will help spread awareness of heart disease throughout the community, empower new parents with the knowledge to respond in a cardiac emergency, and improve the chain of survival in the surrounding area,” said Millie Swan, Forrest Health vice president.
The CPR Anytime program, which was developed by the AHA in coordination with the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a video-based, self-directed learning tool that can teach parents, family members and other caregivers the core skills of infant CPR and choking relief.
Each take-home kit includes:
- An easy-to-follow CPR skills practice video on DVD or online streaming option (English and Spanish) instructions
- A personal CPR manikin to practice correct technique
- Skills reference card to refresh and review skills at any time.
- A bilingual (English and Spanish) DVD and user guide come with every kit.
Donor support has allowed this program to be launched across the country where many hospitals have seen tremendous success and infant lives saved.