UC Irvine honored for teaching CPR to parents of fragile infants

August 12, 2012
Incubator NICU

The American Heart Association has recognized the UC Irvine Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit as Orange County’s 2012 Infant CPR Champions for its commitment to preparing parents to care for their once critically ill children.

Before an infant leaves the hospital, UC Irvine nurses teach parents how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on their baby in case of an emergency.

“Just in case something goes wrong, we want parents to have basic resuscitation skills to be able to help until emergency responders arrive,” said Robin Koeppel, the NICU’s clinical nurse specialist.

In addition to teaching parents, the staff also gives them the American Heart Association’s Infant CPR Anytime kit, which allows families and others who will care for the baby to learn the core skills of infant CPR and choking relief in just 22 minutes.

“Parents are often so emotionally exhausted and preoccupied with their babies’ critical health status that sitting in a traditional two-hour CPR class is unrealistic,” said Sylvia Beanes of the American Heart Association. “So we wanted to make learning CPR easier and less time consuming for NICU parents.”

Koeppel said the staff encourages parents to eventually get full CPR certification.

Infants who are born premature, with a low birth weight or with underdeveloped lungs often need the specialized care only available in the 45-bed neonatal intensive care unit.

“Caring for sick babies requires a lot of teamwork and our bedside nurses have done a fantastic job on CPR education,” said Dr. Cherry Uy, medical director of UC Irvine’s NICU.

Koeppel and Nicole Jasso, clinical nurse educator, worked with the American Heart Association to provide parents with the necessary tools.

Developed in coordination with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Anytime kit uses the American Heart Association’s most recent resuscitation science and unique, research-proven “practice-while-watching” technique for learning the skills of CPR.

Users practice CPR on an infant-sized mannequin while watching those skills being taught and performed on a DVD.  New parents keep the kit to teach the skills to family members at a convenient time.  The program comes in English and Spanish.

Take a virtual tour of the NICU at UC Irvine Medical Center ›

About UC Irvine Medical Center: Orange County’s only university hospital, UC Irvine Medical Center offers acute- and general-care services at its new, 482,000-square-foot UC Irvine Douglas Hospital and is home to the county’s only Level I trauma center, American College of Surgeons-verified regional burn center and National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. For 12 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has counted UC Irvine among “America’s Best Hospitals.” UC Irvine Medical Center is the only hospital in Orange County that offers both a high-risk obstetrics program and Level III NICU under one roof.