First Aid Certification teaches the knowledge and skills necessary to treat various emergencies. But what next? This article will cover what to do after you’ve given the necessary immediate treatment, and what to do after.
Once you have treated your patients’ condition, you should continue to reassure them and listen to them. The Red Cross First Aid manual recommends that you avoid moving them unnecessarily. Don’t ask the patient lots of questions and keep the area clear and free from crowds of onlookers.
However, some questions will be useful to ask in order to pass on to the emergency services. Try to take the patients history of what happened. This could be from the patient themselves, or from any bystanders who witnessed the event.
Continue to monitor the patient, checking their vital signs – responsiveness, pulse and breathing. Stay with them until emergency assistance arrives so you can treat them if they deteriorate.
It would also be useful for someone to contact the patients family. A global campaign which began in the UK and has spread worldwide encouraged people to have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) Contact in their mobile phones. This is the number of the patients next of kin who should be contacted in an emergency.
If you look through the patients personal belongings, for example for their phone, identification or clues to their condition, try to do this with a reliable witness. Ensure all of their belongings accompany the patient to hospital or they must be handed over to the police.
Some patients with known conditions have information on medical cards, bracelets, lockets, key rings or medallions. Look for these items in order to gain the patients history. Other items in their personal belongings may also give clues such as medications, inhalers, medicine pens, or any hospital or clinic appointment cards or letters.
First Aid Classes advise that the patient should not take anything orally if they need to be transferred to hospital or if it is possible that they could have internal injuries. The patient should also not smoke.
Medication should only be given if the patient has their own. It is best to wait for specialist assistance as the wrong medication may put the patient at risk. If the patient does have their own medication, it is important to determine that it is appropriate for their condition, not out of date, taken as prescribed and the recommended dose is not exceeded. You should make note of what medication is taken including the name, dose, time and method.
When the emergency services arrive, be prepared to hand over the patient and give them as much useful information as possible. Valuable information includes:
- patients name and address if known
- history of the incident or condition
- brief description of any injuries
- any unusual behaviour
- any treatment given and when
- level of response, pulse and breathing
Writing this information down is ideal however try to remember as much as you can if a pen and paper is not available.