How to do CPR on a Adult?

2011 CPR standards and techniques as recommended by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) and provided by the following first aid and CPR providers:

  • St. Johns Ambulance
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
  • Lifesaving Society of Canada
  • workplace approved Training

The following material is for information purposes only, if you would like to learn CPR take a hands-on CPR course with a provider near you.

Instructions for CPR on a Adult Patient

Victim: The victim in this scenario is an unconscious, non-responsive and not breathing adult.

Step 1

As the rescuer enters the scene he or she must survey the scene. Surveying the scene includes checking for hazards and asking bystanders for a history on the victim. If dangers a present and can pose a risk to the rescuer, the rescuer must contact emergency medical services (EMS) and await instructions from EMS. If no dangers are present continue to the next step.

Step 2

Rescuer must check the responsiveness of the victim. Using a technique known as “tap and shout”, formerly known as “pinch and shout”, the rescuer should gently tap the victim on the shoulders and speak to the victim to check for responsiveness. If the victim responds ask if he or she needs any assistance. If the victim does not respond continue to the next step.

Step 3

The rescuer should position him/herself next to the victim’s head while on his or her knees. The rescuer should place his or her fingers under the jaw of the victim, the other palm on the victim’s forehead and gently tilt the victims head back to open the airway. This “head-tilt-chin-lift” is designed to open the victim’s airway and allow for free movement of air through the victim.

Step 4

Keeping the airway open, the rescuer will look, listen and fell for breathing. The rescuer will look at the victim’s stomach to see if it is rising and falling, will feel for breathing on his or her ear and listen to breathing. In order to effectively check for breathing the rescuer must place his or her ear within two or three inch’s of the victim’s mouth with the eyes focusing on the victim’s stomach. The rescuer should check for normal breathing for 5 seconds. The rescuer should feel one to two normal breath’s within that 5 second period.

Step 5

In this rescue scenario the victim is not breathing. The rescuer now has sufficient information to send a bystander to contact EMS. The trained rescuer will continue with CPR as the bystander contacts 911. To effectively send a bystander to contact EMS the rescuer must tell the bystander the following thing:

  • Point at the bystander and identify him or her through an article of clothing. Example: “Hey you in the black shorts”.
  • Tell the bystander to contact 911. Example: “Go call 9-1-1”
  • Tell the bystander some information about the victim. Example: “I have an unconscious, non-breathing adult victim”.
  • Tell the bystanders to report back after contacting EMS to be able to confirm that the call was made. Example: “Report back to me as soon as possible”
  • Tell the bystander to bring an automated external defibrillator (AED) and someone to help use it. Example “Bring me an AED / Defibrillator and someone trained to use it”.
  • Finally, ask the bystander if they understand. Example “Do you understand?”

To recap, the rescuer should point at a bystander at say

“Hey you, in the black shorts, go call 9-1-1. I have an unconscious, non-breathing adult victim. Bring an automated external defibrillator and someone trained to use it. Do you understand? Report back to me once you have done all that”.

If the bystander has difficulty with the request or if the rescuer is not sure the bystander can complete the task select more bystanders to assist or do the same thing.

Step 6

The rescuer must begin with chest compressions to help continue circulate oxygenated blood throughout the victim’s body. Without oxygen, the victims’ vital organs will circum to permanent damage. To do effective CPR the rescuer must find the correct location to do chest compressions, otherwise known as “land marking”. To  properly land mark onto the chest the rescuer must expose the victim’s chest and place the heel of his or her hand onto the centre of the victim’s chest (approximately between the nipples). The rescuer will place his or her other hand over top of the rescuers land marking hand and prepare to compress the chest. The rescuer should be on his or her knees, next to the victim’s body. The rescuer should focus all of the pressure of the chest compression onto the heel of his or her hand that made the initial land mark. With elbows locked and with his or her body overtop of the victim the rescuer will complete 30 chest compression’s. The chest compressions should be at a pace of at least 100 per minute and should compress the victims’ chest approximately ½ to 1/3 of the victims’ body.

Step 7

Once the 30 chest compressions are complete the rescuer will attempt to ventilate the victim twice. If the rescuer has protective equipment he or she should ventilate using the equipment. If the rescuer has no protective equipment, he or she will plug the victims’ nose and seal his or her lips over the victims’ mouth. The rescuer will ventilate one breath, pause for one second, release the plugged nose, and ventilate a second breath with the victim’s nose plugged again. The rescuer should focus on the victim’s chest when ventilating. Once the chest rises from the ventilation the rescuer should stop ventilating. The rescuer should be careful not to breathe too much air into the victim as it can cause regurgitation.

Step 8

The rescuer will continue to ventilate 2 breaths and complete 30 chest compression until one of the following things happens:

  • The victims’ vitals change. Example: Victim wakes up, begins breathing or vomits.
  • The AED arrives. Once it arrives take it out of the bag and turn it on and follow the prompts.
  • EMS arrives and notifies the rescuer to stop CPR.
  • The rescuer is too tired to continue CPR.

The material posted on this page is for information purposes only. To learn proper CPR it is vital that candidates learn through a “hands on” approach.

For More Information

Check out this video with step to step instructions on how to do adult CPR.