The American Heart Association (AHA) has created an intermediate course, Pediatric Emergency Assessment, Recognition and Stabilization (PEARS), which supports healthcare providers who do not regularly provide advanced pediatric life support or are not credentialed for advanced pediatric treatment.
The association said PEARS develops skills in recognizing certain signs and symptoms of a child in cardiopulmonary distress who needs rapid support.
PEARS, co-branded with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), is a video-based course with instructor-led discussion that takes approximately seven hours to complete. Prevention of cardiac arrest or respiratory failure is the primary focus of the course, as it equips healthcare providers to assess, recognize and begin stabilization of pediatric victims prior to arrest, according to the AHA. Students also practice various skills at learning stations, after which they must pass skills tests and a final written exam. Upon the completion of the course, students will receive AHA PEARS certification.
Monica E. Kleinman, MD, clinical director, medical-surgical ICU and critical care transport program at the Children's Hospital in Boston, said “PEARS teaches the healthcare provider at a child's side to recognize when they need more help and when that child is heading down a pathway that could lead to cardiac arrest.” She added that the “course is unique, because it addresses the training needs of those people who are already there and who must push the button to call for help after recognizing that the child is in trouble, and then to begin early intervention.”