Can you perform CPR on a bed?

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) comprises of chest compressions and rescue breaths. A common question from learners is if CPR can be performed on a bed (Eg: at home).

The aim of CPR is to keep oxygenated blood moving around the body in order to keep vital tissues alive during a cardiac arrest before the arrival of a defibrillator.

In order for chest compressions to be effective they should be performed at a rate of 100 – 120 per minute and a depth of 5 – 6cm. 

This is important when we consider the issue of performing CPR on a bed. The depth of chest compressions is important, shallow chest compressions are unlikely to be effective. 

In order to achieve adequate depth of chest compressions, the victim should be on a hard flat surface. A mattress at home is unlikely to be hard enough to perform effective chest compressions.

Mattresses designed for medical purposes (eg: in hospital or in a residential care home) may be hard enough, many hospital beds also have a CPR setting. 

Therefore the main advice is that CPR is unlikely to be effective if performed on a bed at home.

A first aider should attempt to move the victim to the floor in order to perform chest compressions. However, this may not be possible in all situations due to the size/weight of the victim. In this situation the first aider should attempt the best possible CPR on the bed and await further assistance to move the victim. 

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