Sudden cardiac emergencies can happen to anyone, anytime, or anywhere. Having Automated External Defibrillator (AED) resources available to the public, especially in rural areas, can save lives.
CHI St. Joseph’s Health of Dickinson is a partner of a Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) regional collaborative to receive $595,920 through a federal grant assuring placement of 220 AEDs throughout rural Minnesota and North Dakota in proximity of where people live, work, learn, and play. The grant also covers training for up to 675 first responders and volunteer users of these life-saving devices.
The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded the three-year grant to 12 CHI rural hospitals within its Fargo Division including CHI St. Joseph’s Health through its Rural Access to Emergency Devices Grant Program. The total estimated cost for the AED Collaborative project is $1,034,720 over the next three years.
In year one of the grant, CHI St. Joseph’s Health placed several AEDs throughout its service region at the following locations:
Golva Fire Department, Golva, ND Beach Rural Fire Department, Beach, ND Sentinel Butte Fire District, Sentinel Butte, ND Southwestern District Health Unit, Dickinson, ND West River Community Center / Dickinson Parks & Rec., Dickinson, ND ABLE, Inc., Dickinson, ND
In year two, the following locations are currently receiving AED units:
“Our healing mission calls us to make the communities we serve healthier,” says Reed Reyman, CHI St. Joseph’s Health President. AED placement locations were determined and prioritized at the local level maximizing impact. “Our goal with the AED grant program is to increase access to AEDs within our service region and improve chances of survival for anyone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.”
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating. Blood no longer flows to the brain and other vital organs. SCA can be fatal if not treated within minutes.
SCA is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and the American Red Cross estimates 350,000 people to experience SCA in the coming year. Improved access to AEDs and training could potentially save 50,000 lives annually.
Time is of the essence when a person is experiencing an SCA, and emergency treatment with a defibrillator can be lifesaving. The Red Cross calculates that every minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced approximately 10 percent.
“AEDs are effective in restoring regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest,” says Jodi Bosch, CHI St. Joseph’s Foundation Director. Bosch serves as the local CHI project coordinator for the AED grant collaborative. “They are relatively easy to use for people with limited or no medical backgrounds.”
Executive Director of ABLE, Inc., Mary Anderson, is thankful for the AED placed at ABLE last year. “It’s been great to have. We have already used ours and happily there was a good outcome.” The Foundation recently placed a 2nd AED unit at ABLE.
AEDs in your community
Unique to the rural areas of northern Minnesota and North Dakota, barriers to health care such as geography, weather, distance and transportation, and spotty radio or cell phone coverage can impede emergency response time. Other significant commonalities are the fact that aging populations, poverty, and access to medical professionals throughout the region increases many individuals’ vulnerability to health crises.
Communities expressed a need for access to life-saving technology, however, many organizations, including first responders in some instances, lack the resources to replace aging AEDS or are unable to fund the purchase and training for new AEDs.
As a partner of the AED project over the next three years, communities in CHI St. Joseph’s Health’s service region will begin to place AEDs as they become available, and each organization slated to receive them will be sending three individuals to Red Cross certified.