By Danielle Woodruffe
When Aisha Kamara signed up to take a CPR class at Parker, she had no idea the magnitude of the decision she was making. After four years of working in Environmental Services at Parker, Aisha thought that knowing CPR would simply be a good skill to have.
“I am often in the rooms of Elders. One day I had the thought: ‘What if I ever needed to help a person?’. I decided then that it would be a good idea to take the class,” explained Kamara.
However, just two months after taking the class in November, Kamara put her training to the test on someone she was not expecting to save from a choking incident — her two-year-old daughter.
“My daughter, Kadija, swallowed a penny and a dime. She laid down on the floor and put a water bottle in her mouth and the coins, which were in the water bottle, went down her throat,” said Kamara. “I wasn’t sure what to do. I was thinking, ‘Should I call 911?’ I was panicking.”
Then Kamara remembered her CPR training.
“I grabbed her and was able to administer the Heimlich Maneuver. After about three abdominal thrusts, she threw up the coins,” Kamara said. “My older children were shocked and thankful. Had I not taken this CPR course that Parker offers, I would not have been able to save my daughter. I am so grateful for this course.”
While nurses are required to be CPR certified and CNAs are expected to do the same, other staff are encouraged to take advantage of the free class. In 2018, more than 100 employees were CPR certified at Parker. Some of them have put their training to use on the job.
“It’s always a good idea to be as prepared as possible,” says Parker Learning Administrator, Debra Sivo. “You never know when you may need it.”
In fact, just last month, CPR was used by a trained staff member at one of our homes.
The typically four-hour course is offered each month at Parker at the Pavilion and Parker at Monroe. Any Parker employee can attend the general staff classes which are kept small (usually consisting of ten people). Students are taught general CPR which includes proper training on the AED machine and the Heimlich Maneuver.
By Danielle Woodruffe