Even though Cherry Village Benevolence is required to have only one certified person available at all times to administer CPR, it goes far beyond what is mandated.
This is why the long-term-care facility offers cardio-pulmonary resuscitation classes to its staff at least a couple of times a year.
“Regulations say there has to be one CPR-certified person in the building at any given time,” Director of Nursing Donna Marbut said. “But we don’t limit ourselves to one. It is much better for our residents if we have as many people as possible certified in CPR.”
It is not only nurses and their aides that take the courses. Employees in the dietary and housekeeping departments volunteer to become certified too.
“We encourage all staff members to take the classes,” Marbut commented. “We are fortunate that they realize the importance of CPR – whether it is for newcomers or for re-certification every two years.”
If someone has become incapacitated, chest compressions are the best response because “the most important thing is to keep the blood flowing,” Marbut said.
Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation also is part of the class but it is no longer mandatory. In addition, the Heimlich maneuver is taught so staff members can come to the aid of a resident who is choking.
John Stettinger, Basic Life Support instructor, is the first person Cherry Village contacts when they need a teacher.
“They are great about calling me when they have new staff members and/or others who need re-certification,” said Stettinger, who has 34 years experience as an instructor. “Cherry Village does a good job and we work together well as a team.”
There were only a half dozen students in a recent class but Stettinger noted it is not uncommon to have 15 to 20.
In Stettinger’s “real life,” he is battalion chief at the Great Bend Fire Department. Teaching CPR is an extra job.
“The folks at Cherry Village and other students learn the same techniques and protocols that EMTs use,” Stettinger commented. “Cherry Village always does a good job; they perform CPR quickly and then turn patients over to the fire department.”
Stettinger encourages everyone to learn proper CPR techniques because it has been proven to save lives.
“Oftentimes, when EMTs arrive on a scene, no one is helping a person who may have become incapacitated,” he said. “If someone had started chest compressions, it would make a big difference.
“When someone goes four to six minutes without oxygen to the brain, the chance of survival goes down drastically.”
A local family has managed Cherry Village, 1401 Cherry Lane, since it opened in 1978.