Training lay-people to use automatic external defibrillators: are all of their needs being met?

Resuscitation. 2006 Oct;71(1):80-8. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2006.02.008.


Aims: We explored the experiences of lay people who have been trained to use automatic external defibrillators. The research questions were: (1) How can training courses help prepare people for dealing with real life situations? (2) Who is ultimately responsible for providing critical incident debriefing and how should this be organised? (3) What is the best process for providing feedback to those who have used an AED?

Methodology: Fifty-three semi-structured, qualitative interviews were conducted, some with those who had been trained and others with trainers. Locations included airports, railway stations, private companies and first responder schemes. Geographically, we covered Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Essex and the West Midlands in the UK.

Results: Our analysis of the data indicates that most people believe scenarios based within their place of work were most useful in preparing for 'real life'. Many people had not received critical incident debriefing after using an AED. There were a variety of systems in place to provide support after an incident, many of which were informal.

Conclusion: Training scenarios should be conducted outside the classroom. There should be more focus on critical incident debriefing during training and a clear identification of who should provide support after an incident. Other issues which were of interest included: (1) people's views on do not attempt resuscitation (DNAR); (2) perceived boundaries of responsibility when using an AED; (3) when is someone no longer 'qualified' to use an AED?

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Defibrillators*
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Health Education / methods
  • Health Education / standards
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Public Opinion