According to Jacobsen, it’s not as easy as it looks in the movies. “If you're not pressing hard enough, then you're not going to be effective, but you also don’t want to press too hard.” There are specifications for the rate and depth of compressions that need to be followed. And even if your technique is straight out of the textbook, the task is incredibly fatiguing, which means it can only be done well for so long. That’s why she was so excited to hear about the new automatic chest compression machine made possible by Carle Health Center for Philanthropy.
The new device, which goes across a patient’s chest, provides regular, consistent compressions during a cardiac arrest event, and it never fatigues, providing the life-saving task as long as it’s required. But that’s not the only advantage the device provides; it also frees up hands in a situation where staff is often limited.
Like most emergency departments, a cardiac arrest at Carle Richland is an all-hands-on-deck event. “Everyone comes that can,” Jacobsen said. “But if you’re in a COVID-19 room with a patient monitoring their ventilator, you can’t leave the ICU. So when you’re minimally staffed, it’s nice to have all the help you can get.” The machine also frees staff to do other important things, like manage airways or administer medication, improving patient care.
All of those factors influenced the purchase of the equipment by the Greatest Need Committee at Carle Richland Memorial Hospital – a special team tasked with directing philanthropic dollars where they’re needed most at the hospital. Each year, the committee entertains proposals from numerous Carle Richland employees seeking to enhance patient care. But this year, it was the new chest compression machine that reached the top of the list.
The life-saving device had been on the department’s wish list ever since they saw it being effectively deployed by Arrow Ambulance arriving at the hospital. And now, thanks to philanthropy, the ED at Carle Richland Memorial Hospital has one of its own, helping ensure that patients throughout the greater Olney area receive the consistent, high-level care they need to achieve their best recovery.
"We're so grateful to the Olney community members who made unrestricted gifts to Carle Richland Memorial Hospital and helped us fulfill this need," said Beth Katsinas, vice president of Carle Health Center for Philanthropy. "The purchase of the automatic chest compression machine is just one example of how giving to your local Carle hospital transforms healthcare for all those who depend on us for care."