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St. Luke’s, American Heart Association collaboration results in infant CPR kits

Sherry Iverson, director of patient and family services at St. Luke’s Children’s and Dr. Kenny Bramwell, system medical director for St. Luke's Children's, pose with infant CPR kits.
By Dave Southorn, News and Community
February 5, 2021

What can you do when an important part of parental preparation is no longer possible?

That was part of the challenge facing St. Luke’s at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as face-to-face, close-quarter gatherings fell away and with them, key parenting classes.

The American Heart Association had an idea.

“When it hit, we all kind of realized that CPR classes had to be canceled and we had parents with high-risk infants who may not be learning what to do in an emergency like that,” said Brandi Keefe, associate Heart Walk director.

The kits include CPR directions, an inflatable manikin and instructional DVD.

Keefe and her team reached out to community leaders and raised $20,000 toward at-home infant CPR kits for hospitals around the state. St. Luke’s received about 75 of the kits, which include an inflatable infant-size manikin, bilingual directions for how to perform CPR on a small child and an instructional DVD.

“They have this great tool, and we were able to send them to people that requested them or with parents of babies that were at risk,” said Sherry Iverson, director of patient and family services at St. Luke’s Children’s.

“It has extended our ability to give families life-saving skills when we haven’t been able to do it in person.”

The learning sets can be reused, so grandparents and babysitters can learn, too. Iverson said one recent mom of a baby that had been in the NICU lived with her parents, and they were able to learn what to do in case they needed to perform CPR.

“It’s only a few minutes to learn how to save a life,” Keefe said.

The kits have been so popular that St. Luke’s started to run out of them as the calendar flipped to 2021, but a Community Health Improvement Fund grant of $15,000 provided by St. Luke’s to the American Heart Association in January will give St. Luke’s approximately 200 more kits to distribute among the Nampa, Boise, Meridian and Twin Falls hospitals, which have neonatal intensive care units.

“I was so happy for that grant, because it really is helping fill a need in a time where we all have had to pivot,” Keefe said.

The new kits will begin arriving shortly, timely since February is American Heart Month. And with any luck, there will be enough kits to last until in-person classes resume safely.

“This was a great partnership,” Iverson said. “It’s a big help to have this substitute when we can’t have those classes.

“And we know even when they are back, not everyone can always make them, so those kits are going to continue to be part of our regular education.”

About The Author

Dave Southorn works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.