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November 28, 2023

Steven Cumper

How To Use A Stethoscope Effectively: Comprehensive Guide

Learn the art of proper stethoscope usage, identifying normal and abnormal sounds, and discovering the essential techniques for accurate assessment. How to Use a Stethoscope: A Step-by-Step Guide The stethoscope is one of the most important tools in your medical bag, and knowing how to use it effectively is paramount to your success as a medical professional. You will use your stethoscope to measure blood pressure, listen for heart sounds and bruits, zero in on lung sounds, From initial auscultation to thorough diagnosis, the proper utilization of your stethoscope will serve you and your patients well. We have gathered some tips to help you get started. Choosing the Right Stethoscope There are many types of stethoscopes, and choosing the right one depends on your needs. For example, cardiologists and pediatricians use different types of stethoscopes that work best for their patients. There are countless brands to consider, each offering different features. Some of the brands we carry even have customization options. Stethoscope types include: Classic: a general, multipurpose stethoscope like this one that is designed to meet the needs of most medical professionals. Cardiology: best used to identify heart sounds and minimize background noise. Pediatric: specifically made with children in mind, these are perfect for small pediatric patients. Digital: a newer technology, digital stethoscopes connect to smartphone apps that help with noise cancellation, increased amplification, and easier identification. They are a pricier option with advanced features. Teaching: these stethoscopes come with two headsets to allow teachers and students to listen together. Lightweight: perfect for EMTs and nurses, lightweight stethoscopes are a great option for quick auscultation. Veterinary: animals have varied body shapes that are different to humans, so veterinary stethoscopes are shaped in a way that allows access to the areas a veterinarian needs to reach. Adjusting a Stethoscope Let’s dive into adjusting your stethoscope. You need a good fit to provide accurate results. To make sure your stethoscope is appropriately adjusted: Make sure the ear tips are sized and fitted correctly: The size of your ear tips will make a difference in overall sound quality. With improperly fitted ear tips, the acoustics will be distorted, rendering the stethoscope ineffective for listening. You can purchase ear tips in a large range of sizes to suit your needs. If you are experiencing pain in your ears after wearing your stethoscope, the ear tips are too big. If you cannot get a proper seal in your ears and can hear a lot of background noise, the ear tips may be too small. Adjust the headset tension: We know how uncomfortable a stethoscope can feel when it’s fresh out of the box. With a few minor adjustments, your device will start to feel natural. If your headset is too tight, you could experience pain in the ears, or even headaches. A headset that is too loose will result in no sound coming through. Adjusting the tension in the headset is a quick and easy process. Increasing and decreasing the tension is done by pulling apart or pushing together the ear tubes. After adjustment, the tubes will hold their shape, ensuring a proper fit. How to Wear a Stethoscope Correctly How you wear your stethoscope matters, too. Depending on what you need to listen for, the patient will need to be positioned accordingly. Ear tip placement is also important. Positioning the Patient First, ensure the exam room or area is free from excessive background noise. Then you can prepare your patient for listening based on what you need to hear. To Hear: Position the Patient: Heart and abdominal sounds Supine position Lung sounds Upright position Positioning the Ear Tips The ear tips of your stethoscope need to be facing forward to work properly, with the ear tube curve pointed behind you. They need to have a snug fit and tight seal, so if this is not achieved, you will need to purchase a different size. You will be able to feel the difference and adjust as necessary. Choosing the Right Chest Piece You may be able to swap out the chest piece. If your stethoscope has this option, make sure the chest piece is right for your patient. Chest pieces are available for cardiology, pediatrics, and other specialties that may suit your specific needs. How to Use a Stethoscope: 5 Ways to Listen to Your Patient Once you have adjusted your stethoscope and ensured a proper fit, you are ready to start listening to patients. First, holding your stethoscope correctly will make a big difference in how well it works for you. Using your index and middle fingers on your dominant hand, hold the stethoscope between the bell and diaphragm with a finger on either side. This grip will help reduce extra noise compared to placing your fingers on the diaphragm. Next, make sure you are treating the individual patient and adjust your technique to work on each patient. For example, you might hear outside sounds on a patient with body hair even if the room is quiet. This is from hair rubbing against the diaphragm. Take care to be very still to avoid this issue. If your patient is overweight, you can ask them to lean forward when listening to their heart. This may help with hearing the heart in patients with a thicker chest wall. There are five main functions of a stethoscope to be familiar with: Listening to the Heart Heart sounds are an important part of your exam. To listen to a patient’s heart, you will need to: Place the diaphragm on the patient’s chest over their heart. This is on the left side of the chest, just under the breast. Maintain a tight grip on the chest piece and push down on the patient’s chest. You want to make sure you are well connected so that you do not pick up outside sounds. For a thorough examination, make sure you listen long enough and identify normal heart sounds. You can also measure their pulse. Pay attention to anything that sounds abnormal, like a heart murmur or ventricular defect. Listening to the Lungs The lungs tell the story of the patient’s breathing quality. You can listen to the lungs to check for things like air or fluid in the lungs. Like before, you will use the diaphragm side of the chest piece to listen to the lungs. You can listen from the front of the chest or the back. Make sure to move your stethoscope around to cover the entire body of each lung. Listen to both lungs and pay attention to any differences between the two. Listen for wheezing and crackling noises as well as normal breath sounds. Listening to Abdominal Sounds When listening to the abdomen, you are checking for abnormal organ activity. This helps identify issues with the bowel and vascular disease. Use the patient’s navel as a starting point and consider that the center of the abdomen. Mentally draw a diagram on the belly, separating the area into four quadrants. Use the diaphragm to carefully listen to each section separately. Check for normal and abnormal bowel sounds. Ideally, it will sound like the stomach is “growling.” Abnormal sounds include silence (this could indicate a blockage) and fast sounds, which may indicate disease. Listening for a Bruit A bruit, or vascular murmur, is “an audible vascular sound associated with turbulent blood flow.” Bruits are often associated with blocked arteries, atherosclerosis, and murmurs. Checking for a bruit is indicated if a murmur has been identified. To check for a bruit: Locate a carotid artery in the patient’s neck. Using the diaphragm, apply light pressure. Listen for a “whooshing” sound, and take care not to confuse the sound with a murmur, as they often sound similar. Other major arteries can be used to check for bruits. Checking Blood Pressure Blood pressure is one of the easiest indicators of a patient’s cardiac health. Checking blood pressure using a stethoscope is a simple process: Snugly apply a blood pressure cuff to your patient’s arm. Ensure the patient is sitting in a relaxed position and make sure their legs are uncrossed. Use the diaphragm and place it over the brachial artery below the blood pressure cuff. Listen for Korotkoff sounds to measure the systolic blood pressure. Squeeze the bulb on the blood pressure cuff to inflate the cuff. Generally, you will inflate it to 180 mm Hg. Once the correct pressure is released, listen closely for Korotkoff sounds to determine the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure and diastolic pressure together will indicate the patient’s blood pressure. Maintaining and Cleaning Your Stethoscope To ensure longevity and functionality, you need to properly clean and maintain your stethoscope. We have seen stethoscopes lose their effectiveness earlier than necessary due to inadequate care, so don’t skip this important step! Be sure to sterilize the stethoscope between patients. You can use regular soap and water or alcohol wipes and then air dry once cleaned. Remove the diaphragm (if your model allows) and clean it separately. Remove ear tips and swab those with soapy water or alcohol. Do not submerge the stethoscope in water, as this can destroy the inner tubes and render it useless. Conclusion You will use your stethoscope daily, so proper care and technique will make all the difference in its usefulness. These tips will help you treat patients with confidence and ensure a long life for your stethoscope.

October 03, 2023

Medshop Editor

Littmann Stethoscope vs Spirit Stethoscope

Both Littmann and Spirit stethoscopes have their unique strengths, catering to different segments of the healthcare industry and different roles. In this article look at key features, which include performance, durability, accuracy, and pricing of each brand, so you can make an informed decision that works for you

September 29, 2023

Medshop Editor

Nebuliser Vs Inhaler — What’s the Difference

For medical professionals, or anyone who suffers breathing difficulties caused by asthma, lung disease, or cystic fibrosis, inhalers and nebulizers are probably all too familiar, and at some point, you no doubt will have come across both. However, for those not in regular contact with these life-saving devices, there may be some confusion between the two. This article aims to explain the purpose of both nebulizers and inhalers, describing how they work, the key differences between the two, and what you should consider if you are looking to purchase one or both of these types of medication delivery devices. Read on to learn more. What Is a Nebulizer For those asking what is a nebulizer, the simple answer is that it is a specialized medical device used in the treatment of respiratory conditions. It is designed to convert liquid medicine into a fine mist, making it easier to inhale, where it enters the lungs and then into the bloodstream. Nebulizers are commonly prescribed for individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, and acute asthma. They are particularly beneficial for young children or those who may have difficulty using other inhalation devices. However, they are usually larger than inhalers, and they are designed to go over the mouth. How Does It Work and When to Use Them? Nebulizers rely on a power source to work, usually an air compressor powered by electrical connection or battery. Medication is added to a medicine cup, which is then attached to the mouthpiece or mask. Next the tubing is connected between the mouthpiece or mask and the nebulizer compressor. The medication is then turned into a mist which can be inhaled through the mouthpiece or mask. The time it takes to use a nebulizer will depend on the amount of medication prescribed, but users should take normal breaths during the medication delivery period. This can range from 5 to 15 minutes depending on the condition and the type of medications. In most cases, nebulizers are used during the exacerbation or flare-up of lung diseases when quick relief is critical. They are also often used on patients who are unable to use inhalers due to medical conditions, and also on babies and small children who would otherwise find using inhalers difficult. Types of Nebulizers Today, there are two primary types of nebulizers, jet nebulizers and ultrasonic nebulizers. Jet nebulizers use compressed air to generate a mist, while ultrasonic nebulizers employ high-frequency vibrations. Each type has its pros and cons, and a doctor will usually advise on which type is best suited to specific medical conditions or medication types. Pros and Cons As with any kind of medical device, a nebulizer features certain pros and cons that you should be aware of. Some things to consider include: Pros Effective for delivering liquid medication. Suitable for individuals with difficulty using handheld devices. Ideal for young children or those requiring specific dosages. Can be used during acute asthma or COPD exacerbations. Cons Requires a power source for operation. Treatment may take longer compared to inhalers. Nebulizer machines are less portable than inhalers. What Is an Inhaler An inhaler, also known as a metered-dose inhaler (MDI), is a handheld device that delivers medication in aerosol form directly into the lungs. It is a common method of drug delivery for individuals with various respiratory conditions, especially asthma. They are usually compact enough to fit into a pocket, with a small mouthpiece designed to fit into the mouth. How Does It Work and When to Use Them? Inhalers work by releasing a specific dosage of medication in the form of a fine mist. This is achieved by pressing down on the MDI, which activates the release of the aerosol. To enhance delivery, a spacer or holding chamber may be used. This accessory helps ensure that enough of the medication reaches the lungs, particularly for individuals who may have difficulty during inhalation. Types of Inhalers There are many different types of inhalers currently available today, including dry powder inhalers (DPIs) and pressurized metered-dose inhalers (pMDIs). DPIs release medication in powder form and require the patient to inhale deeply. pMDIs, on the other hand, deliver medication in a liquid propellant, which is then converted into a fine mist for inhalation. Pros and Cons Some of the benefits of inhalers over nebulizers are included below, however, it’s also important to think about the disadvantages in relation to your particular medical condition. Pros: Highly portable and convenient for on-the-go use. Quick and efficient drug delivery. No need for a power source or additional equipment. Available in various formulations, including corticosteroids and bronchodilators. Cons: Requires precise inhaler technique for optimal effectiveness. May not be suitable for very young children or individuals with coordination difficulties. Key Differences Between Nebulizers and Inhalers While often thought of as similar medication delivery devices, there are a number of key differences between nebulizers and inhalers. The table below will help you to understand the differences and why they are important. NEBULIZERS INHALERS Delivery Mechanism Convert liquid medication into a fine mist, making it easy to inhale into the lungs. This process is achieved through the use of a compressor or ultrasonic technology. Release medication in aerosol form. They function by activating a canister that propels the medication into a fine mist for inhalation. Portability and Power Source Less portable as they rely on a power source, usually a compressor, for operation. This limits their use to settings where electricity is readily available. Highly portable and do not require an external power source. This makes them suitable for on-the-go use and convenient for individuals with active lifestyles. Speed of Administration Treatments generally take longer compared to inhalers. The process of converting liquid medication into a fine mist can require several minutes to complete. Quick and efficient drug delivery. The medication is released instantly, allowing for a swift response to respiratory symptoms. Age and Patient Considerations Often preferred for young children, as they may have difficulty using inhalers effectively. The fine mist produced by a nebulizer is easier for children to inhale. Require a certain level of coordination and technique for optimal effectiveness. They may be more suitable for older children, adolescents, and adults. Accessories and Aids May be used with additional accessories, such as masks, to facilitate delivery, particularly for individuals who struggle with a mouthpiece. can be used with a holding chamber or spacer to enhance drug delivery. This accessory helps ensure that enough of the medication reaches the lungs. Types of Medication Well-suited for delivering a wide range of medications, including corticosteroids, bronchodilators, and antibiotics in liquid form. Available in various formulations, including corticosteroids for long-term control and bronchodilators for immediate relief during asthma attacks or exacerbations. Emergency Use Frequently used in cases of severe respiratory conditions like cystic fibrosis or acute exacerbations of COPD. Widely used for both maintenance therapy and quick-relief applications in conditions like asthma and COPD. Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Nebulizers and Inhalers At the end of the day, choosing between a nebulizer and inhaler will depend on a variety of factors related to your medical conditions or conditions. You will need to think about the following before making a purchase: Condition Severity — Consider the severity of the respiratory condition. Nebulizers are often preferred for acute exacerbations, while inhalers can be used for both maintenance and quick relief. Age and Patient Population — Young children, elderly individuals, or those with limited hand dexterity may find nebulizers with masks or mouthpieces more manageable. Inhalers can be challenging for young children or those with coordination difficulties. Portability and Lifestyle — Nebulizers require a power source and are less portable. Inhalers are highly portable and convenient, making them suitable for active lifestyles or frequent travelers. Medication Type and Formulation — Consider the specific medications prescribed. Some may only be available in liquid form, making a nebulizer necessary. Inhalers offer a wide range of formulations, including corticosteroids, bronchodilators, and combination therapies. Emergency Situations — For emergencies like acute asthma attacks, inhalers with rapid-acting bronchodilators are often preferred due to their immediate action and portability. Patient Preference and Comfort — Involve the patient in the decision-making process. Some individuals may have a strong preference for one method over the other based on personal experience or comfort level. Which One Is Better for You: Nebulizer or Inhaler? When it comes to choosing a nebulizer or inhaler, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, and your unique circumstances must be taken into account. Sometimes one of either will suffice, however, for other medical conditions you need a nebulizer installed at home and an inhaler when you leave the house. Ultimately, the decision should be made in consultation with your doctor or healthcare provider who will assess your specific needs, preferences, and medical history. Remember, always seek medical advice before making any significant changes to a treatment plan, and always consult with your doctor on the devices you are using. For more information on nebulisers, inhalers, and other medical devices, contact Medshop today.

September 14, 2023

Medshop Editor

The Best Blood Pressure Monitors for Home Use

Learn about the importance of monitoring blood pressure at home, the different types of blood pressure monitors, factors to consider when choosing one, and provide a list of top picks for the best blood pressure monitors for home use. Read on to learn more.

September 13, 2023

Steven Cumper

CPR vs. AED — When to Drop the Paddles

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.To understand the latest medical guidance on using CPR or an AED please consult Australian Resuscitation Council or the American Heart Association. In a medical emergency, every second counts. Whether it's a sudden cardiac arrest or a critical respiratory event, having the knowledge and skills to respond effectively can meanthe difference between life and death. Two crucial tools in such situations are Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Understanding when to administer CPR versus employing an AED is important knowledge that can save lives—whatever your background. Both techniques are designed to support a failing heart, but they serve distinct roles when caring for a patient. This article explains the critical differences between CPR and AED, delving into when to employ each technique and how they can work together to save lives. Read on to learn more. The Importance of Immediate Response in Cardiac Emergencies Cardiac emergencies, such as heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest, are critical and time-sensitive situations that require immediate and effective response. The importance of immediate action cannot be overstated, as it can significantly impact the outcome and increase the chances of saving a person's life. When the heart's blood supply is compromised, either due to a blockage in the arteries (heart attack) or a sudden malfunction of the heart's electrical system (cardiac arrest), every passing moment can lead to irreversible damage to the heart muscle and vital organs. Immediate response can help minimise the extent of damage and increase a person's chances of survival. What Is CPR And How Does It Work Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique performed by first responders in emergencies when a person's heartbeat or breathing has stopped. CPR aims to manually circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body to maintain essential organ function until professional medical help arrives. CPR is a critical intervention during cardiac arrests, drowning incidents, suffocation, and other situations where the normal circulation of blood is disrupted. The basic steps of CPR include: Check Responsiveness: Gently shake the person and shout to check if they are responsive. If there is no response, it indicates an emergency. Call for Help: Dial emergency services or ask someone nearby to do so. Open the Airway: Tilt the person's head back slightly and lift the chin to open the airway. Check for Breathing: Look, listen, and feel for normal breathing. If the person is not breathing or is breathing abnormally, CPR should be initiated. Chest Compressions: Place the heel of one hand on the centre of the person's chest, just below the nipple line. Place the other hand on top and interlock the fingers. Deliver chest compressions by pushing hard and fast at a rate of about 100-120 compressions per minute. Allow the chest to fully recoil between compressions. Rescue Breaths: After 30 compressions, give two rescue breaths. Pinch the person's nose shut, cover their mouth with yours, and give breaths until the chest rises. Continue Compressions and Breaths: Alternate between 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths until the person starts breathing on their own, emergency personnel arrive, or you are too exhausted to continue. CPR helps maintain blood circulation, delivering oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. It can buy valuable time until more advanced medical interventions, such as defibrillation, can be administered. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are often used in conjunction with CPR to restore the heart's normal rhythm. When to Use CPR — Situations and Indications Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a critical technique used to revive a person whose heart has stopped beating or is beating irregularly, and who is not breathing or not breathing normally. Knowing when to use CPR is essential for providing timely and effective assistance in life-threatening situations. Here are some key situations and indications for performing CPR: Cardiac Arrest — CPR is most commonly used during cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood effectively. This can result from various causes, such as a heart attack, arrhythmias, drowning, electrocution, or severe trauma. If a person is unresponsive, not breathing, and has no pulse, CPR should be initiated immediately. Unresponsiveness — If an individual is unresponsive and not breathing normally, CPR should be started. Gently tap the person and shout loudly to check for responsiveness. If there is no response, begin CPR. No Normal Breathing — If a person is not breathing or is only gasping, CPR should be initiated. Gasping is not considered normal breathing and requires immediate action. Choking — If a person becomes unresponsive due to choking and is not breathing, CPR should be started after attempting to clear the airway with back blows and abdominal thrusts (Heimlich manoeuvre). If the person regains responsiveness, CPR is not needed. Drowning — Individuals who have experienced near-drowning incidents and are unresponsive with no normal breathing require CPR to restore breathing and circulation. Drug Overdose or Poisoning — In cases of severe drug overdose or poisoning leading to unconsciousness and no normal breathing, CPR is necessary to maintain blood flow and oxygen delivery. Sudden Collapse — If a person collapses suddenly and is unresponsive, CPR should be started to provide immediate life support while awaiting medical help. Unknown Cause of Unresponsiveness — If the cause of unresponsiveness is unknown and the person is not breathing or not breathing normally, CPR should be initiated to address potential cardiac arrest. It's important to note that CPR is not typically performed in situations where the person has a pulse and is breathing normally, even if they are unconscious. In such cases, placing the person in the recovery position and monitoring them until medical help arrives may be appropriate. Remember, early initiation of CPR significantly improves survival rates and reduces the risk of brain damage. If you are unsure whether CPR is needed, it's safer to begin chest compressions until professional medical assistance arrives. Proper CPR technique and training are crucial to ensure the best possible outcomes in these critical situations. How does CPR compare to Basic Life Support (BLS)? In short, CPR and BLS are similar as they share the same goal—to keep the airway open, the heart beating, and the circulation of oxygen to the body going without the use of advanced life support. However, understanding the difference between the two will allow you to know when to use CPR and when to use BLS. A BLS certification is a little more advanced, not so much as an Advanced Life Support (ALS) certification, but more than a standard CPR certification. That said, in practice, there is little daylight between these two. Some BLS certifications teach advanced methods like the administration of oxygen, team approaches, and in-hospital procedures, but the two certifications are close neighbours. In the case of someone seeking a certification for employment, it’s best to check with the employer if they consider the certifications as equivalent qualifiers. To someone suffering a catastrophic cardiovascular event, it will make little difference whether their attendant is CPR or BLS certified. Both are better than doing nothing when an AED is not available. What is an AED and How Does it Work? The acronym AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator, and they are placed in public places, often as part of a broader first aid kit, to provide emergency care in the event of cardiac arrest. Defibrillator AEDs, like the ones produced by Laerdal, Zoll, and HeartSine allow untrained people to administer ventricular fibrillation (VF) to a human body that has suffered a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack. The AED has changed the fate of cardiac arrest victims forever. Before their introduction, without medical attention, standard CPR was the only chance someone had of surviving a cardiac event. Today, in cities where CPR is widely practised and AEDs are readily available, success rates range from 25 to better than 60 percent. The high end of the data comes from cases where the AED came into play. In the absence of CPR training and AEDs, success rates drop closer to 10 percent. It’s the AED units that improve these data the most. Unlike the hospital defibrillation machines, which predated AEDs and required specific training, these new consumer-friendly defibrillators are accessible to even the untrained. As stated by Defib First Australia, “Modern AEDs cannot be used inappropriately and it is not possible to do any further harm to a cardiac arrest victim who is, in effect, dead and will remain so unless defibrillated.” As far as the value of the AED on cardiac patients, the same site said it best: “An AED is the most vital piece of emergency first aid equipment and the only effective first aid treatment for cardiac arrest.” You can learn more about how to use an AED defibrillator here. Check HeartStart AED with FREE carry case* When should you deliver shock from AED? In short, whenever someone’s heart has stopped beating, that’s the best time to use the AED pads. When a heart stops beating, time is of the essence, because after six minutes of oxygen depletion, the brain begins to die. Damage can and will likely occur long before that point. That means you have minutes to get the oxygen moving through the body again. In the heat of such a moment, even though time seems to slow down, minutes slip away quickly. The good news about today’s AEDs is that they will not deliver a shock to a body with a beating heart. As such, there is no bad time to grab the AED if someone has fallen down. For this reason, most response training advises you to delegate retrieval of the nearest AED in the first moments of the incident. Key Differences Between CPR And AED Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) are both crucial components of cardiac arrest response, but they serve different roles in the effort to save a person's life. Here are the key differences between CPR and AED: CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) Manual chest compressions and rescue breaths. Maintains minimal blood flow until normal heart activity is restored. Trained individuals perform CPR. Requires training for proper technique. No specialised equipment needed. AED (Automated External Defibrillator) Delivers electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm. Resets the heart's electrical activity during specific arrhythmias. Designed for use by laypeople. Minimal to no AED training required due to voice prompts. Specialised device that analyses and corrects heart rhythm. Combined Use CPR and AED are used together to maximise survival chances. CPR starts blood circulation, AED assesses and corrects heart rhythm. The Role of CPR and AED In Cardiac Arrest Response When responding to a cardiac arrest, CPR and AED work together to improve the chances of survival: CPR — Provides manual chest compressions and rescue breaths to circulate oxygenated blood to vital organs, buying time until professional medical help arrives. AED — Analyses the heart's rhythm and delivers an electric shock if needed, aiming to restore a normal heart rhythm. AED use is often combined with CPR. Common Misconceptions and Myths About CPR And AED There are several misconceptions and myths surrounding CPR and AED: Myth — Only medical professionals can perform CPR. Fact — Bystanders and laypeople can effectively perform CPR and should do so in emergencies. Myth — AEDs can cause harm. Fact — AEDs are designed to be safe and will only deliver a shock if a shockable rhythm is detected. Myth — AEDs can restart a stopped heart. Fact — AEDs aim to restore a normal rhythm in a heart that is still beating abnormally; they don't "restart" a stopped heart. Myth — CPR can restart the heart. Fact — CPR can help maintain blood flow and oxygenation but may not restart the heart. AED use is often necessary for rhythm correction. Myth — Only older adults need CPR and AED. Fact — Cardiac arrest can happen to people of all ages, including children and young adults. Myth — You need to be certified to use an AED. Fact — While training is helpful, AEDs are designed for use by anyone, even without formal certification. Myth — You should stop CPR when using an AED. Fact — Continue CPR until the AED is ready to analyse or deliver a shock. The AED will prompt you when to pause. FAQs — Clearing Doubts About CPR And AED Do you use an AED on someone with a pacemaker? The simple answer is yes, but there are a few caveats to AEDs used with pacemakers. Know that pacemakers of any sort should withstand external defibrillation without a problem. The problem with the pacemaker placement is that it usually coincides with the placement of one defibrillator pad. As such, you’ll have to get as close as possible to the correct location. Some AED units may assist with placement. Others may reject the placement. You may need to place the pad directly on the pacemaker, but try to avoid this. In any case, remember that any effort you make is better than none. This person only stands to improve their situation as they are essentially terminal without a heartbeat. Once the pads are in place, run the AED as normal and keep your hands off. After a successful resuscitation, their pacemaker may require attention from a professional, but that’s not a reason to avoid AED administration. Can you use an AED on an infant? If you find yourself in this spot, know that there are special pads and accompanying instructions with most AED units for delivering a shock to a child. The cutoff age is eight. Any human under eight years old will need specially sized defibrillation pads. You should NEVER use the adult pads on a child under the age of eight, even if you have no other options. The risk is not only to the child but to those in the near vicinity. Again, check with your accredited CPR/AED organisation for more details on that. When not to use an AED? Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are life-saving devices, but there are specific situations when their use should be avoided. Firstly, AEDs should not be used when the victim is breathing normally or has a detectable pulse. These devices are designed for cases of sudden cardiac arrest where the victim is unresponsive, not breathing, and lacks a pulse. Additionally, AEDs should not be used in environments with moisture or water present, as this can compromise their effectiveness. Moving the victim to a dry area or ensuring their chest is dry before attaching the AED pads is crucial. If the victim's chest is obstructed by medicinal patches or excessive hair, it's essential to clear the area quickly by wiping or shaving before applying the AED pads. Using an AED in areas with explosive or flammable materials is highly dangerous, as the electrical shock delivered by the device could potentially ignite a fire or cause an explosion. In cases of severe hypothermia where the victim's body temperature is extremely low, it's important to prioritize warming the victim before attempting defibrillation, as their heart's response to the shock can be significantly affected. Lastly, if there is a valid, visible Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order for the victim, it indicates their explicit wish not to be resuscitated. In such cases, using an AED would be inappropriate. In summary, while AEDs are valuable tools for cardiac arrest situations, careful assessment of the circumstances and the victim's condition is essential to their appropriate use. Why is defibrillation important in CPR? Defibrillation is crucial in emergencies involving cardiac arrest for several reasons. Firstly, it delivers an electrical shock to the heart, momentarily stopping all electrical activity. This pause allows the heart's natural pacemaker to reset, potentially restoring a normal rhythm In addition, defibrillation complements CPR efforts. While CPR maintains minimal blood flow to vital organs, it cannot correct an irregular heart rhythm. Defibrillation steps in to potentially restore a normal rhythm, maximally boosting the odds of successful resuscitation. Certain abnormal heart rhythms, specifically ventricular fibrillation (VF) or pulseless ventricular tachycardia (VT), respond well to defibrillation. These are categorised as "shockable" rhythms, and without swift intervention, they often lead to fatal outcomes. Finally, Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are designed to be portable and user-friendly. They offer clear voice and visual prompts, making them accessible in various settings, from homes to public spaces. They can be operated by individuals with minimal training, extending their potential life-saving reach. Author: Steven John Cumper, B.App.SC. (Osteo.), M.Ost., is a businessman with a strong foundation in biomedical science and osteopathic medicine, who founded and led Medshop to international success, culminating in its acquisition by the Bunzl Group in September 2021, where he continues to serve as Managing Director (Medshop Group).

August 01, 2023

Medshop Editor

What is a Defibrillator? How AEDs Work and How to Use Them

Everyone knows what a defibrillator is. They’re a mainstay of Hollywood drama and a paramedic’s most recognisable tool. Here we look at how they work and when to use one.

July 26, 2023

Medshop Editor

Best Nursing Shoes for Women

Discover the best nursing shoes for women that provide comfort, support, and style. Find also what factors to consider while shopping for nursing shoes.

July 10, 2023

Medshop Editor

How to Read a Pulse Oximeter Like a Boss

Accurately using a pulse oximeter is really not that difficult. In fact, by the time you finish reading this blog, you’ll see that there’s not much to it.

July 03, 2023

Medshop Editor

What Does NDIS Cover?

For the more than 4.4. million Australians living with some type of disability, the NDIS has the potential to improve day-to-day life quality significantly, providing greater independence, new skills, and access to assistive technology and services that deliver support tailored to individual needs. But what exactly does the scheme cover, and how can you check if you’re eligible? In this article we look at NDIS in more depth, cover the eligibility criteria, and explore some of the things covered by NDIS plans. Read on to learn more. What is The NDIS? The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a program in Australia designed to provide support and assistance to individuals with permanent and significant disabilities. It is a government-funded initiative that empowers those who live with intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive, psychological, and developmental delays by giving them more choice and control over the support and services they receive. The NDIS was introduced to address the shortcomings of the previous disability support system in Australia, providing a more personal and goal-centred approach. It focuses on providing long-term support to individuals with disabilities, aiming to enhance their independence, social participation, and overall quality of life. What Services Does NDIS Provide? The NDIS offer various types of support and services that fall into the following three categories: Core Supports Budget — This budget category covers funding for everyday supports and services that help NDIS participants with their daily activities, living costs, community participation, and personal care. It may include support such as assistance with personal care and NDIS consumables, transportation, social and recreational activities, and support workers. The Core Supports budget is designed to provide flexibility and cover a range of essential disability supports. Capital Supports Budget — The Capital Supports budget is allocated for higher-cost items and equipment that are necessary to enable a participant to achieve their goals. This budget category covers funding for assistive technology, home modifications, vehicle modifications, and other capital items. It aims to provide participants with the necessary tools and resources to enhance their independence and quality of life. Capacity Building Budget — The Capacity Building budget is intended to fund supports and services that help participants develop their skills, capabilities, and independence over the long term. It includes funding for various therapies, training, skill development programs, and support coordination. The Capacity Building budget is focused on empowering participants to achieve their goals, improve their well-being, and increase their participation in the community. Eligibility Criteria for NDIS Coverage While eligibility for NDIS services is determined on a case-by-case basis that is tied to a personal NDIS plan, there are certain prerequisites that must be fulfilled before you can apply. Below, we list the main eligibility criteria for NDIS cover. Age — You must be between the ages of 7 and 65 to apply for NDIS funding. Other support is available to those who fall outside the age range. Residence — You must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or hold a Protected Special Category visa to apply for NDIS support. Living Situation — You must be living in Australia to access NDIS support. Disability Status — You must have a disability that is caused by a permanent impairment. This can be intellectual, cognitive, neurological, sensory, physical, or psychosocial disability. Other eligibility requirements include whether you need support for daily living, whether you require early intervention support to reduce the need for future support, and whether you require support for your family to build the skills needed to help you. However, each of these criteria is judged on your application. What Falls Under the Coverage of the NDIS? Under the NDIS, eligible participants are assessed based on their individual support needs and goals, and then allocated funding to access a range of supports and services that are tailored to their specific requirements. These supports can include things like personal care, therapy, assistive technology, home modifications, and participation in community activities. Individually tailored plans may cover the following, however, it’s important to note that the specific supports and services provided under the NDIS can vary depending on the individual's needs and goals. Daily living support — This includes assistance with personal care, household tasks, meal preparation, and other activities of daily living. Therapy services — The NDIS can fund various types of therapy, such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, and behaviour support. These therapies aim to improve functional abilities and enhance overall well-being. Assistive technology — Funding can be provided for assistive devices and equipment that help individuals with disabilities to improve their independence and participation. This may include wheelchairs, communication aids, hearing aids, prosthetics, and home modifications. Home and vehicle modifications — The NDIS may cover modifications to the participant's home or vehicle to enhance accessibility and safety. Examples include ramps, handrails, bathroom modifications, and vehicle hoists. Community participation — The NDIS supports participation in community activities and social engagement. This can include funding for participation in sports, recreational programs, art classes, social groups, and community events. Supported employment — The NDIS offers support for individuals with disabilities to access and maintain employment. This may involve assistance with job training, workplace modifications, and ongoing support to ensure job sustainability. Respite care — The NDIS can provide funding for respite services, offering temporary relief to families and carers of individuals with disabilities. What Is Not Covered Under NDIS? When considering what is not covered by the NDIS, it’s important to remember that exceptions or specific circumstances where certain items or services are not typically covered may be considered eligible on a case-by-case basis. For this reason, it’s important to check your eligibility and then begin building a plan tailored around your requirements. However, having said this, while the NDIS aims to provide coverage for a wide range of supports and services, there are certain items and services that are generally not covered. Here are a few examples. Mainstream services and supports — The NDIS does not cover supports and services that are the responsibility of other sectors, such as healthcare, education, and income support. These services are considered part of the mainstream system and should be accessed through the relevant government departments. Medical and healthcare expenses — The NDIS does not cover medical and healthcare expenses that are typically covered by Medicare or private health insurance. This includes general medical services, hospital stays, pharmaceuticals, and routine healthcare costs. Day-to-day living expenses — The NDIS does not cover general day-to-day living expenses such as groceries, rent, utility bills, clothing, or general household items. Emergency or crisis supports — The NDIS is not designed to provide emergency or crisis supports. In case of emergencies, individuals should contact the appropriate emergency services, such as ambulance or police. Recreational or leisure activities without a specific disability-related goal — While the NDIS supports community participation, it generally does not cover recreational or leisure activities that do not have a direct disability-related goal or purpose. Supports unrelated to the participant's disability — The NDIS focuses on providing support and services directly related to a participant's disability. Supports that are unrelated to the participant's disability or do not contribute to their overall well-being and functioning may not be covered. How to Apply for NDIS Funding? Applying for NDIS funding is simple once you have ascertained whether or not you are eligible. You can either: Call 1800 800 110 and speak to an advisor to make a verbal request. Download and complete the Request Form from the NDIS website. Once you have requested access, you will be asked to complete an ARF form which can be downloaded and emailed or printed out and sent by standard mail. In addition, local NDIA and Partners in the Community Staff can help you with your application and with later plan management. Once you have successfully received NDIS funding, you can begin to access the services and products of NDIS providers within the remit of your plan. For more information on how Medshop can help you find the necessary support equipment you need to improve your quality of life, contact us today. Additionally, explore the Medshop blog for more information on NDIS.

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