Introduction: More than a million people in the USA and Europe suffer a sudden cardiac arrest each year. Thousands of people have to be trained in delivering help in such a situation. This cluster-randomized study compared two refresher training methods for basic life support and use of an automated external defibrillation: a traditional instructor-led course, and self-instruction by poster.
Methods: One hundred and thirty-nine lifeguards were assigned to one of the two groups. Group A (n=79) received a 1.5 h, instructor-led refresher training course, whereas group B (n=60) was advised to refresh their own knowledge with a poster, a manikin, and an automated external defibrillation training device. The lifeguards were assessed 3, 6, and 12 months after the initial training.
Results: Seventy-five percent of the lifeguards in each group were deemed competent after 3 months. After 6 months, 78% lifeguards in group A and 75% in group B were considered competent. After 12 months, this was 71 and 76%, respectively. Young, less experienced lifeguards performed better than older, more experienced lifeguards.
Conclusion: Refresher self-training by the use of a poster was as effective as, and more flexible than, scheduled, instructor-led refresher training.