Introducing the cardiac arrest checklist

Ambulance side shot

Checklists are no stranger to high-reliability organisations and safe systems.  Pre-hospital care is provided in an undifferentiated environment, with limited resources and in situations that are high stress/high tempo.  In these situations we need to also recognise that we are human.  Humans are fallible!

With this in mind, and following learning from our previous CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) where we utilised a checklist for patients in cardiac arrest, we have taken time to develop and now launch an updated cardiac arrest checklist.

The purpose of the checklist is to:

  • empower team leadership
  • provide a tool to structure communication and activity in a developed resuscitation attempt
  • prevent omissions in thought process and activity.

In ensuring a high quality resuscitation attempt, we are looking to invoke some key principles that should be adopted by all of us (clearly the appropriate resuscitation algorithm should be followed):

  • Structure and choreography of a resuscitation attempt
  • Use of the metronome to ensure adequate pace of resuscitation
  • Use of the ‘CPR-puk’ to provide live rescuer feedback on CPR quality
  • Use of the checklist (once a resuscitation attempt is established and the resource capability lends its self to formal team leader role being instigated, i.e. three persons or more. You can read more about this here on Need to Know).

The cardiac arrest checklist is self-explanatory and should be submitted with your paperwork as part of your shift summary.  It is important that the CAD number is included on the checklist. 

Checklists will be available via your local management team, from our stores catalogue as per other Trust documentation, or you can download a copy here on East24.

The care of patients in cardiac arrest is always going to a priority for us as a Trust; as such, we are launching the cardiac arrest checklist as part of the professional update (PU) programme this year, and providing CPD opportunities in the form of our cardiac arrest bootcamp and soon to be advertised Resuscitation Council (UK) Advanced Life Support courses.  If you have any feedback or ideas to further develop our care to patients in cardiac arrest, please email

Published 28th November, 2016

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