Cardiac arrest: a missed learning opportunity

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The Resuscitation Council advocates debriefing after cardiac arrests, as both a training tool and to improve patient outcomes. There is, however, a large variation between hospitals in their implementation of debriefing. This potentially disadvantages trainees, as they are unable to use the presented opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge. The primary aim of this survey was to investigate the utility and perception of debriefing postcardiac arrest among staff at a district general hospital. The secondary aim was to evaluate our specifically designed postcardiac arrest debrief tool.


A confidential, qualitative survey was distributed to 100 cardiac arrest team members at Lister Hospital, Stevenage, during February 2016.


72% of the participants reported never having debriefed postcardiac arrest at Lister Hospital. 93% believed that debriefing would improve individual performance, 95% felt it would benefit team performance and 88% felt it would improve patient safety. Our postcardiac arrest debrief tool was well received, with 93% stating that they would find the tool useful.


Debriefing postcardiac arrest has been associated with improved return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) neurological outcomes, hands-off compression times as well as reduced time delay to first compression. Despite the benefits, this survey has shown a lack of debriefing at our hospital. We have developed a concise debriefing tool aimed at providing much-needed training for those involved. The tool allows identification of key concerns in leadership, and teamwork and encourages open discussions around areas of concern. We believe that its implementation may improve resuscitation outcomes, and therefore, recommend its use postcardiac arrests.

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