Recovery Position

Video 7 of 47
3 min 21 sec
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Handling Unconscious Patients as a First Aider

When you come across an unconscious patient, follow these steps:

1. Stop, Think, and Act

Look for hazards, remove potential dangers, and ensure someone is with you if possible.

2. Assess the Patient

Introduce yourself, tap their collarbone for a response, and ask for permission to help. Assess conscious patients and prevent them from moving while deciding the appropriate action.

3. Check for Breathing

For unconscious patients, perform the head-tilt-chin-lift technique to open the airway. Look, listen, and feel for normal breathing for up to 10 seconds.

4. Call for Help

If the patient is breathing normally and you understand the situation, send someone to call an ambulance and have them report back with the estimated arrival time.

5. Place the Patient in the Recovery Position

Ensure the patient's airway remains open and prevent choking on vomit by positioning them in the recovery position.

Performing a Head-to-Toe Survey

Wearing gloves, check for injuries by gently feeling the patient's shoulders, arms, chest, and legs. Look for deformities, blood, or fluid.

Placing the Patient in the Recovery Position

Follow these steps:

  1. Kneel next to the patient and straighten their legs.
  2. Place the patient's near hand on the floor at a 90-degree angle from their body.
  3. Interlock fingers of the far hand with the patient's near hand against their cheek.
  4. Grab the patient's far knee, lift the foot flat on the floor, and use the leg as a lever while supporting their head to roll the patient onto their side.
  5. Ensure the airway is open and adjust the patient's legs for stability.

6. Keep the Patient Comfortable and Warm

Use a blanket or another covering to maintain the patient's warmth.

7. Monitor and Communicate

Continuously monitor the patient's breathing and talk to them. If possible, have someone assist in finding out the ambulance's arrival time. If alone, leave the patient only to call emergency services, and check their breathing before leaving and upon returning.