Patient Assessment

chris cleary By chris cleary, 4th Apr 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>First Aid

Remember we had our ABC's in the previous post, well now I am going to introduce you to S.A.M.P.L.E, I know I hear you ask whats with the alphabet chris, well believe me it works.
I and every other first responder uses this system and it's brilliant.
If you go through it you will leave nothing to chance. Chance Kills ..
Happy reading, and feel free to comment, in fact I would love a comment or two,
good or bad.

Patient Assessment

Remember always call for help first.
Either use your mobile, or the assistance of a by-stander, if using the latter always tell them to return to you and confirm they made the call.

Remember in our previous post we covered the ABC's of your initial assessment now we are going to introduce you to S.A.M.P.L.E.

OK I know what you are saying at this stage is first aid all about the alphabet, well my answer to that is yes and no. What I will tell you is by applying a sequence of letters to set of tasks, we do tend to remember them better
and thats what it is all about, remembering what you have to do in the event of you coming across a person in need of your assistance.

we can learn off this method and by doing so, we cover all the things required in making our assessment of the situation we have in hand. And there is another great benefit too, if we think we have forgotten some aspect of our assessment it is easy to start at the beginning and go over everything once more in our mind.

so let me introduce you to assessment.

For this brief I will include a scenario where you can use this, and it help simplify, and leave in no doubt as to where you can apply S.A.M.P.L.E.

Ok you are at a wedding enjoying a great knees up and all of a sudden a casualty falls to the floor in front of you
this casualty is full alert but clutching their chest, remember what I said before, use the casualty to give you the information where possible.

First of all, yes you have it in one, call for professional help.

S. Signs and symptoms:
well we know what the signs are the casualty is clutching their chest.
But what are the symptoms, Ask them let them help you. Now questions you can ask here are

What type of pain is it, is it vice like, pressure, or radiant
Have you ever suffered this type of pain before
If YES when
If No How severe is it on a scale of 1-10 10 being the worst
NB: All chest pain should be taken as serious, ask staff if they have a d-fib, and if so to have it on standby
with their trained personnel ready to use it.

A. Allergies

Why do we ask about allergies, the main reason for this is we are trying to gather as much information as possible so we can pass this on to the EMT's when they arrive, having this information can save a lot of time
when they arrive, because remember they will have to ask these question also, to build up a patient history.

M. Medication

If the patient during your initial question "Have you ever suffered this pain Before" replies yes, it is most likely they suffer from angina, and they have the medication to deal with it in their pocket.
If the have such medication usually GTN, a spray under the tongue will usually ease the symptoms after about 5 minutes.

NB: Before the patient uses the medication make sure it is in date, out of date medication can have worst effects than the condition itself.

P. Past Medical History

Again here you have an opportunity to find out more about the patient, the information you acquire here can be very useful for the EMT's when they arrive, as further medication can be administered by them based on the information learned here.

L. Last oral intake.

Again what you learn here can be very beneficial to the EMT's when they arrive, as certain medications can not be administered within an hour of consuming food, so don't pass this point thinking it is of no importance
nothing could be further from the truth.

E. Events leading up to the condition.

It is important always to gather information as to what the person was doing before the onset of the pain
how long ago it was, and the change in severity or type of the pain.

To explain this further to you , imagine the scenario we set out at the start, in this case we know most likely the pain was brought on by the patients dancing and excursion ie. their angina condition.
But if this was a different scenario and the patient in question has had the pain for more that 15 to 20 min, it is without doubt an urgent case.

Finally if your patient is making signs of recovery before assistance arrive i.e. the GTN is taking effect
leave patient in a sitting position with their back against the wall and their knees brought up .
Never leave your patient always stay with them
talk to them
and reassure them.

word to the wise
Patients with chest pain are often in denial as to the reason of their chest pain
many people will deny the chest pain could be caused by a cardiac event, they may tell you
it is as a result of indigestion, or that they have a cold.
This denial often results in there being a long period of time before they call the EMS.
So treat any patients chest pain as if his or her pain is a cardiac event.

Remember guys if there is a first aid class in your area attend it
you never know when it could become useful.




Allergies, Awareness, Bleeding, Breathing, Consciousness, First Aid, Heart Attack, Scene Safety

Meet the author

author avatar chris cleary
Hi there I am a firefighter, and based in a small County in Ireland. I have been a firefighter now for 25 years. My other interests are quading reading, diving, and of course computing.

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