What is a CPR Refresher?

Mary McMahon

A CPR refresher is a course which allows people who are already certified in CPR to refresh their skills so that they can be confident that they will be competent in an emergency. People can use a CPR refresher for CPR recertification, or simply to keep their CPR skills fresh. There are many different ways to take such a course, including taking online classes or having an instructor come to a workplace to provide training. People who are required to know CPR for their jobs may be able to access a free CPR refresher through their employers, or may want to suggest to their employers that a CPR instructor come to the workplace to refresh everyone at the same time.

The American Red Cross offers CPR refresher classes.
The American Red Cross offers CPR refresher classes.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a basic life support skill which can increase someone's chances of recovering from some medical emergencies if it is administered properly. In a typical CPR class, students learn a number of basic life support skills including CPR so that they can respond to an emergency. They learn to manage the patient's airway, breathing, and circulation, the “ABC's of first aid,” and while they do not have access to the tools provided by advanced life support, such as intubation to keep the airway open or medications to stimulate the heart, they can be helpful in an emergency.

Those already CPR certified might want to refresh their skills.
Those already CPR certified might want to refresh their skills.

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Once someone has earned CPR certification, it is necessary to periodically recertify, whether one is a doctor providing life support on a daily basis, or a high school student who learned CPR for babysitting and hopes to never need to use it. A CPR refresher provides a reminder of the basic skills and techniques used so that people can feel more confident when they take the recertification test, and the course may even include a recertification at the end of the training. CPR refreshers usually do not take very long, because students do not need to learn the material from scratch.

An online CPR refresher is one format which is popular with some students. In an online course, students will be walked through course materials and periodically asked to answer questions to demonstrate that they are knowledgeable. Students can also opt to take a CPR refresher class in person, with many organizations like the Red Cross or the American Heart Association offering periodic CPR refresher courses to the public; health clubs, community centers, and hospitals often have a schedule of local CPR courses which people can consult to see when a CPR refresher will be offered in their area.

CPR instructors are also usually willing to travel to teach a CPR refresher, as long as there are enough students to merit the trip. It's usually necessary to pay a small fee to the instructor for his or her time and the supplies, and to have a space large enough to students to spread out and practice with CPR dummies.

Paramedics take periodic CPR refresher courses to maintain their certification.
Paramedics take periodic CPR refresher courses to maintain their certification.

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