Imagine taking instruction in driver-training to find out after the final lesson that the course comes with a free car.
Not likely to happen. Yet, something similar evolved as a result of a very strong working relationship between EAAA – which provides many services to the elderly and disabled – and St. Joseph Healthcare.
It started when Erin Coltvet, EAAA training coordinator, booked a CPR training course with St. Joe’s Healthcare for employees at the Agency’s Annex on Union Street in Bangor.
The course also included instruction on how to use an Automated External Defibrillator [AED[. These portable, life-saving devices are common in areas where groups of people gather. An AED can be used by a non-medical person to restore abnormal heart rhythm in another person who is suffering a heart attack. Such arrhythmias, if not controlled, can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. The AED is programmed to check heart rhythm and prompt the user when to deliver a shock, in an attempt to restore normal heartbeat, until emergency assistance arrives.
The course, taught by Jamie Perry, BSN, a Certified Emergency Nurse from St. Joe’s, “was phenomenal,” recalled Coltvet later.
During the course, Perry found out from Agency staff that there was no AED at the Annex.
Perry realized that it was important for the Agency to have an AED at that location, where many elderly persons are served every day. Perry was able to locate and purchase a unit for the Agency, using funds from the training course and some additional funding she and colleagues at St. Joe’s were able to procure. She personally delivered the AED, along with a storage cabinet and two emergency kits with masks and other AED accessories.
“We are incredibly grateful for this,” says Coltvet. “The reassurance that it is here, plus the legitimacy this lends our programs, the confidence it gives our instructors and staff simply cannot be measured.”