Blog | Tuesday, March 20, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Advanced life support skills quickly unlearned after training

Advanced life support knowledge and skills decay by six months to one year after training, and motor skills fade faster than knowledge, researchers found.

Guidelines currently require retraining health care providers in advanced life support every two years or more.

Researchers conducted a systematic review of studies of how much advanced lifesaving skills are retained. They found 11 studies in the literature that applied multiple-choice questionnaires to evaluate knowledge and cardiac arrest simulation or other skills tests to evaluate skills.

Results appeared online at Resuscitation.

All studies reported variable rates of knowledge or skills deterioration over time, from six weeks to two years after training. Clinical experience had a positive impact on retention. A prospective, randomized, controlled study found that having half a year of clinical experience before training had no effect on immediate learning, but did result in better retention of both knowledge and skills at six months.

Another study showed that defibrillation and intubation skills deteriorated more rapidly for nurses than for physicians. Yet another study looked at four multi-disciplinary groups assessed quarterly for a year. The percentage of subjects able to pass the skills assessment declined rapidly to 37% at 3 months and 14% at 12 months. The group that outperformed the others had a higher percentage of critical care nurses, direct patient care providers and more frequent advanced life saving providers.

"Perhaps not surprisingly, skills appear to deteriorate more rapidly than knowledge," the authors wrote. "Similar discrepancies between knowledge and skill performance have been well documented in studies of [advanced lifesaving and basic lifesaving] and other clinical skills."