Initial Assessment and the Recovery Position

In this video, we will look at initial assessment and the recovery position. Firstly, if someone is with you and is necessary, send them away to call the Emergency Services. But if you are alone, continue the following and then call the Emergency Services. You may be able to call out for help to get someone’s attention. Introduce yourself to the patient. Give them a tap on the collar bone to see if there is any response. Ask permission to help. If
they are conscious, you can talk to them and find out what’s happened, and stop them from moving while you assess them and decide what action to take. If they are unconscious, make sure that they are breathing. If they are not breathing, you will need to commence CPR. In this case, make sure that you call the EMS before starting.


To check for breathing, you will need to open the airway by tilting their head back, which draws the tongue away from the back of the throat and allows the air to pass. Place one hand on the patients’ forehead, and the other on their chin, and have a quick look in their mouth to see if there’s any obstruction. Gently lift the chin and push the forehead back in a gentle and smooth action. Look, listen and feel for breathing for up to 10 seconds. Place your ear close to their mouth, listen and feel for breathing, and look down their body to check to see if their chest is rising and falling. If they are breathing normally, CPR is not required. Here you can send someone to call for an ambulance. Make sure to tell them to come back and tell you when the ambulance will arrive. To make sure that the patients’ airway remains open, you would need to ensure that they cannot choke on their own vomit. You will need to place them in the recovery position.

Recovery Position

If available, put your gloves on and have a head to toe check. In this you are looking for any other injuries. Gently feel their shoulders, arms and chest for any deformity, blood or fluid. Check that their legs are in a normal position and there are no obvious damage to the hips or legs. When the check is complete, and there no evidence of any significant injury, the patient should be placed into the recovery position. With them on their back, and their legs together, bring the hand that is nearest to you to 90 degrees to their head. Take their other hand and hold it against their face on the side nearest to you. With your other hand, lift the leg up furthest away from you so that the foot is nearest on the floor. Then using the leg as a lever and keeping the airway supported, turn them onto their side facing you. Check that they are breathing and that the airway is open. Once they are secure on their side, and if you are alone, you can then go for help. When you return, check again to make sure they are still breathing. From this point, your role as a First Aider is to keep the patient comfortable and warm. Remember to speak to them and monitor them at all times to make sure they are still breathing. Keep talking to them at all times. If you are completely alone with a patient and you don’t have a phone, this is when you would need to leave them and go and call the Emergency Services.

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