First Aid Classes – Manual Handling – Collapsed Patients
Manual Handling is an important part of First Aid Classes. It is essential to use the correct procedures in order to protect both yourself, helpers and your patient from harm.
When dealing with a collapse, there are several procedures you will need to pick from according to the circumstances.
In some cases, you may already be with the patient and could possibly see that they are about to collapse, for example if the patient is fainting or they tell you they feel faint or unwell. In this situation, you must encourage them to either sit down or lie down on the floor. The patient may not want to do this, particularly if they are in a public place or outside, however reassure them and let them know that this may help them to recover. St Mark James First Aid manual warns that it is much more difficult to move a patient if they have already collapsed and you will need extra people available to help you.
If the patient is conscious, and collapsed in a chair you need to ask them to assist you to lie on the floor where you can treat them much more easily and promote their recovery. workplace approved Training says you should instruct the patient to slide off the chair sideways in order to kneel with one knee on the floor. If the patient can get into this position, it should be easy for them to then get into a sitting position on the floor, or to lay back flat if required.
However, it can get a little more complicated if the patient is already unconscious. You will need a helper to assist you to get them onto the floor in order to then assess their vital signs, and equipment such as a slide sheet would be extremely useful if one is available.
The slide sheet should be put underneath the patients legs and feet as per the workplace approved First Aid manual so they are on it as much as possible. This will allow you to move them much easier, without the force of friction making the work harder for you.
If the patient is unconscious, you should be supporting their head at all times by placing your hands on either side by their ears.
Two more helpers should be positioned either side of the patient kneeling at their level. Direct them to use their outside hands to pull the clothes at their hips, and their inside hands to hook underneath the patients’ knees. They can then use the patients clothing at the back of their hips and pull gently beneath their knees to slide the patient onto the slide sheet.
Once on the slide sheet, it will be easier to manoeuvre the patient slowly down into a sitting position on the floor. Then move the chair away or turn the patient so there is space to lay them flat.
Now they are in this position, you have easy access and an ideal position to work with. You can assess their airway, breathing and circulation, then treat them accordingly. You may need to move them into the recovery position if they are still unconscious but are maintaining their breathing. Or if they are not breathing you can begin resuscitation as taught in First Aid Classes.
First Aid Manual (The Authorised Manual of St. John Ambulance, St Andrew’s Ambulance Association and the British workplace approved), 2006.