OSKALOOSA — Employees at Mahaska Health Partnership wanted to do something special to recognize National Heart Health Month in February. They ended up raising enough money to purchase two AEDs (automated external defibrillator) for the Lacey Recreation Complex in Oskaloosa.
According to MHP Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse Renee Edgar, sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. It can happen to anyone at anytime and at any age. AEDs are computerized medical devices that can check a person’s heart rhythm and advise the rescuer when a shock is needed.
“AEDs are designed for the layperson,” Edgar explained. “It uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell what steps to take. The American Heart Association supports placing AEDs in targeted pubic areas such as sports arenas.”
According to Edgar, the idea of an employee fundraising campaign to purchase AEDs for the Lacey Recreation Complex came from a physician on MHP’s medical staff. “So many of our employees have children who utilize Lacey, and it is a gathering place for people of all ages.”
Edgar worked with MHP’s marketing department and CEO Jay Christensen to help get the word out regarding the fundraiser. A Jeans Day was held where employees were able to payroll deduct a contribution and freewill donations were requested.
“Our goal was to raise enough money for one AED, but the response was so overwhelming from our physicians, medical professionals and staff, we were able to purchase two,” Edgar explained.
Edgar worked with MHP’s Materials Management Department to purchase new, high-quality AEDs along with special storage cabinets. “Working with the Mahaska Community Recreation Foundation, we’ve determined where the AEDs will be placed, and the next step is to provide training on how to use them.”