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. 

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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