Advanced cardiovascular life support, also known as advanced cardiac life support, is a group of medical interventions used in emergency settings to treat stroke, cardiac arrest, and other life-threatening situations.
The knowledge and skills to deploy this system of protocols is sought-after in medical professionals.
ACLS requires training and certification and only those properly qualified can provide this service. ACLS requires healthcare professionals to monitor and manage airways, secure IV access, take an electrocardiogram reading and interpret it, and understand pharmacology in emergency settings. Health professionals who require this training may include physicians, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, respiratory therapists, dentists, and other emergency responders. Other health professionals may have basic life support (BLS) training, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), one of the core skills required in ACLS. In cases of cardiac arrest, CPR should be performed immediately. Defibrillation is another important step, and the increased availability of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) has helped this.
ACLS training is available across the country as well as online. ACLS training may be taken in community centers, hospitals, clinics, and other locations. It may be offered by a non-profit organization such as the Heart and Stroke Center or the American Heart Association, and is offered by companies such as the ACLS Testing Center and the ACLS Training Association.
ACLS training is an advanced course for healthcare professionals and emergency responders who already have basic life support skills. The course emphasizes the importance of CPR, helps practitioners identify care systems, offers communication strategies for teams, and helps healthcare professionals recognize cardiac arrest, stroke, dysrhythmia, and other acute coronary syndromes, and intervene accordingly, including providing aftercare.
The course is based on research and clinical data into patient outcomes. Situations, case studies, animations, and simulations are used to help students gain experience. Finally, the course and its contents are usually offered in a way that is flexible and accessible—including blended learning styles, experienced instructors, and video content.
In order to get ACLS certified, you must attend a class or take a class online. If you work at a hospital or clinic, make sure you check the regulations before signing up for a class. Most hospitals only accept certification through a training program approved by the American Heart Association. This course is offered in numerous locations across the United States. In addition, many hospitals offer the course on-site at a discount for employees. Check online using the AHA’s course search tool, or check with local organizations that provide first aid training. The course can cost up to $200 but if you work in a healthcare field, you may be able to get reimbursed by your employer.
Online ACLS courses are available. However, do your research before signing up. A number of sites offer certification that is not approved by the AHA and therefore invalid in the eyes of many hospitals. Some companies try to get around this by describing the course as “recommended by AHA-certified physicians.” Read carefully, as you don’t want to spend the time and money doing a certification program that is not recognized.