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Learner's Stop the Bleed Outcomes Between Lay Instructor and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)-Trained Instructor Groups.

Curēus 2023 September
BACKGROUND: One of the most utilized Stop the Bleed courses, the "Bleeding Control Basic (BCon) course v. 1.0," requires instructors to have a specific healthcare license or pre-hospital credential (e.g., physician or paramedic) or specific emergency medical services (EMS) instructor certification and have completed the BCon provider course. This requirement provides a level of expertise in instructors but limits the potential workforce for sharing life-saving knowledge and skills. Other Stop the Bleed courses, such as the American Red Cross First Aid for Severe Trauma (FAST) course, do not have this requirement. This raises questions pertaining to the learners' outcomes between those facilitated by instructors with and without healthcare licenses or credentials.

METHODS: Learners' outcomes for applying a tourniquet (skill), knowledge (cognitive), and Intention to Aid (attitude for behavior) were compared between those taught by lay instructors and EMS-trained (emergency medical technician or paramedic) instructors. All were trained as new instructors in the FAST program.

RESULTS: For the study's primary outcome, all of the learners (n=135) properly applied a tourniquet to a simulated leg injury at the end of the training based on video evidence (skill). Learners in the EMS-trained instructor groups (n=84, mean age 25.5 years, 68% female), who were older and had more education, scored significantly higher on knowledge of tourniquet use on the Stop the Bleed Educational Assessment Tool (SBEAT) (mean=90.0 vs. 83.9 on a scale of 0-100, p=0.001) with a small effect size than the lay instructor group (n=51, mean age 16.6 years, 88% female). There was no statistical difference in attitude toward helping behaviors in a bleeding emergency between the two groups on the Intention to Aid (I2A) survey.

IMPLICATIONS: Lay instructors and EMS-trained instructors performed comparably in facilitating a widely available Red Cross Stop the Bleed course. Lay experience with tourniquets should not disqualify individuals from being a Stop the Bleed instructor. Using a standard curriculum with instructor development offers a way for people with and without an EMS background to teach life-saving competencies effectively.

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