Survivors of sudden cardiac arrest and their loved ones gathered at the Citizen CPR Foundation's Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update in San Diego in December. They introduced scientific speakers, led the CPR Saves Lives March from the hotel to the city center, and participated in informal discussions, sharing their personal stories and the challenges they have faced after surviving cardiac arrest.
"It was an honor to meet and reconnect with so many wonderful people who survived sudden cardiac arrest," said Mary Newman, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, who facilitated the informal discussions.
Survivors offered these insights:
- Don't be brave. Ask for help.
- What is missing is attention to the needs of spouses and other family members.
- Our (loved ones, spouses) saw it all. We only heard about it. They experienced trauma. They need support.
- Not being able to drive is challenging. It is hard to be dependent on others.
- Spouses worry about when their loved ones are home alone.
- We have been given a gift. Let's use it.
- Everyone needs to learn CPR in schools.
"Clearly, there is a need to help survivors and their families address issues related to life after survival from sudden cardiac arrest," said Newman. "Our SCA Network aims to help survivors and loved ones connect with their peers and find mutual support."
Survivors and loved ones are invited to join the SCA Network here. Members will be invited to participate in research aimed at helping survivors and family members cope with the "new normal."