First Aid & CPR Training, HealthCo Co. Louth

Blended BLS training – An improved training system for organisations and staff.

Basic Life Support – Provider

Basic Life Support (BLS) training is the preferred program for staff resuscitation training in healthcare facilities in Ireland. Designed by the American Heart Association, it’s evidence base in combination with the practice whilst watching training style has provided a fantastic learning tool for staff. Standards are very clear and reviewed every five years. Training methods are detailed meaning every staff member receives a consistent experience. Equipment to be used is mandatory and numerous, increasing the time spent practicing for each learner. In Ireland all of these quality assurances are overseen by the Irish Heart Foundation and delivered through Approved Training Sites of which HealthCo is proud be included.

Irish Heart Foundation Affliliated Training

Covid changes

With Covid though, eliminating as much classroom based training as possible has been required to reduce the risk of transmission. And yet a failure to regularly update skills will also risk poorer outcomes for patients receiving CPR. This has forced the adoption of a blended learning style which is a mix of online learning as well as classroom based practice. This style has been an option for some time now, however at first glance it seemed like adding more work, without gaining much back in efficiencies. Covid has now forced more organisations to try it, in order to keep their standards in line with regulation. And it’s actually turned out very well. Scheduling training is more efficient as more staff are can be trained per day than previously. The short learning programs are getting very positive feedback from staff. Plus the convenience and format of online learning is adding a learning experience that nobody expected.

Medical emergency response, HaealthCo Co. Louth

In practice

So how does it work? Learners undertaking training are emailed a unique code to allow access to the AHA eLearning platform. Here the staff member learns through a series of interactive online lessons, meaning they are constantly engaged as if being taught one-to-one in the classroom. The BLS program also requires the learner to pass a standard set at a high bar. In other words they must complete a multiple choice question test paper and achieve a grade of at least 21 out of 25 to pass. This is a challenging proposition yes, but it also ensures active online learning rather than a passive experience, which is where many early programs have failed. A certificate of achievement is automatically generated and accessible by the training administrator, enabling them to schedule practical sessions.

With the knowledge piece completed, the classroom piece is all practice, practice, practice. Multiple sessions can be scheduled in one day. This means far more staff gaining certification – up to 40 – in what typically would return just six certifications in a classroom-only based event. The format is flexible, allowing the tutor to extend or shorten these sessions based on the experience and competency of learners. It can also be used as a way of bringing in non-clinical support staff into training as might be the case in nursing homes or GP practices.


To conclude…

BLS training has been the gold standard resuscitation training program for several decades now. We are seeing the further development of this where BLS Blended learning will be the format by which most staff train and retrain their resuscitation skills. Classroom based BLS training remains relevant but is likely to assume a more supplementary role where broadband or device availability is limited.

Hoping you found this article useful and feel free to get in touch – – if you have any questions about how we can help your organisation with its training requirements.

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