Roles and Responsibilities of ACLS Resuscitation Team

Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of death in men and women. Experienced resuscitation teams are essential in a medical setting to deal with the increasing burden of heart disease cases. Therefore, many healthcare practitioners choose to pursue an ACLS certificate. Now you may wonder what is ACLS certification, and what roles do resuscitation teams play in saving lives or general medical care settings? And we’re here to answer!

Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) are clinical guidelines for using innovative treatments like advanced medications and other techniques to deal with life-threatening conditions that can potentially lead to a cardiac arrest.

The ACLS certification is offered by the American Heart Association (AHA). This certification is recommended for all healthcare providers and emergency responders that deal with cardiovascular issues in their daily routines.

What is a Resuscitation Team?

Every hospital has a resuscitation team consisting of three doctors, three nurses, and an additional doctor or nurse. Each of the seven-team members has a unique role to perform during the resuscitation efforts.

Resuscitation or CPR is a life-saving technique that can help restore heart function. It is a precise technique that needs to be performed at specific time intervals and by skilled and experienced personnel. It is crucial for all team members to know and understand the roles of other members so they are aware of the whole situation and can be ready upon their turn since the process is time-sensitive. An efficient resuscitation team has the following qualities;

  • Clearly understand their roles
  • Fully prepared to fulfill their roles to the best of their ability
  • Understand and have a working knowledge about all algorithms
  • Have enough experience and practice in the resuscitation process
  • Committed to giving their all to ensure a successful ACLS resuscitation

Roles and Responsibilities of a Resuscitation Team

The seven members and their roles in a resuscitation team are as follows;

The Team Leader

The team leader should be proficient and aware of the scope of expertise of their team members. They have to lead a team during a critical time so they must have clear and precise communication skills.

The team leader effectively oversees the whole process and ensures that all members perform their roles to the best of their abilities. They make sure that the right step is performed at the right time in the right way. Their duties may include;

  • Training other team members
  • Focusing on the comprehensive care of the patient
  • Assigning roles to team members
  • Making appropriate treatment decisions
  • Monitoring the overall accuracy and performance of the team

The team leaders also explain and expect the members to perform the following steps carefully as they are critical for the patient’s life.

  • Ensuring hard and fast compressions right in the center of the patient’s chest
  • Waiting for the complete chest recoil after each compression
  • Minimizing and avoiding any interruptions between compressions
  • Avoiding excessive ventilation

The Compressor

The compressor understands and follows the latest resuscitation guidelines to effectively provide basic life support. Chest compressions are the primary part of the whole CPR process. The compressions are performed at a specific depth and rate, and the compressor ensures accurate compressions.

The compressor switches positions with another team member, usually a defibrillator, after five cycles of CPR (two minutes) to avoid fatigue. However, if the compressor feels tired before the time limit, it is better to switch than continue with low-quality compressions.  

The Airway Manager

The airway manager deals with all aspects that can possibly affect the airways. They keep the airways open and maintain them. They are skilled in using equipment like a bag valve mask and advanced airway adjuncts as needed.  

The Defibrillator

The defibrillator is sometimes also referred to as a monitor and AED. This member is in charge of bringing and operating an AED at the scene. AED stands for an automated external defibrillator that analyzes the heart’s rhythm and delivers an electric shock to it as and when needed to assist in re-establishing a healthy rhythm.   

The IV Medication Provider

This member deals with and maintains all aspects of the circulatory system. Their roles can include;

  • Utilizing available and appropriate techniques to initiate vascular access
  • Providing accurate feedback when asked
  • Administering timely and appropriate medications as directed by the team leader

The Time Recorder

The time recorders, as the name suggests, keep track of the time that each step takes during the whole process. They also announce when the next treatment should be initiated and if more medication is required. If a time recorder is not available, the team leader may assign the duties to someone else or do it themselves. The time recorder keeps the record of;

  • The frequency and duration of CPR interruptions
  • All the administered treatments and medications
  • All specific resuscitation interventions

The Back-Up Member

A back-up member is also part of the team. The back-up member has no specified role and can take the role of any other member in case of fatigue or unavailability.

Back-up members are crucial because in the absence of one member, another member may have to fulfill two roles and that can overburden them, potentially compromising the whole process. Therefore, the team leader assigns duties to the back-up as required.  

The Wrap Up

Resuscitation teams are high functioning and require impeccable coordination. The team should be highly organized and communicative to ensure a successful CPR. 

An efficient and timely CPR ensures quick and healthy recovery of the patient. The resuscitation process is complex and requires an organized team to simultaneously perform several roles effectively and efficiently in as little time as possible.

Therefore, the role of each member of the team is crucial. The healthcare workers with an ACLS certification are considered members of a resuscitation team. This certification equips them with the required knowledge and latest techniques to provide basic life care support to a critical patient.

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