Managing Your Casualty
When carrying out first aid, one of the most important things to remember is that you are dealing with a person. Depending on the gravity of the incident this person is likely to be distressed, anxious and concerned. As a first aider you need to treat their injury or illness whilst also doing your very best to keep the casualty reassured that everything will be ok and that they are in the best possible hands.
- Introduce yourself by telling the casualty your name and advising them that you are a trained first aider
- Find out the casualties name and use it whilst communicating with them
- Explain what is happening and why
- Where possible gain the casualties consent, asking if they agree with whatever it is you need to do to help them
Show Good Listening Skills
Listen to what the casualty has to say and indicate that you understand. Simple ways to do this include…
- Use affirming nods and small noises of agreement to show you understand
- Do not interrupt the casualty and show your understanding by summarising back to them what you’ve been told
- Make eye contact but do not stare
Act in a Calm and Approachable Manner
- Use a confident and calm voice that is clearly audible. Don’t resort to shouting
- Speak slowly with instructions that are relayed in short sentences using simple words
- Use simple hand gestures and calm movements
- Be prepared to adjust your manner. Perhaps you need to ask fewer questions or discuss something else to take their mind off things
- Don’t leave the casualty alone
What if the Casualty Resists Help?
- The casualty may be confused, angry or upset by what has happened to them
- Remain sensitive to their feelings and relate to them that you understand why they feel as they do
- Do not argue or disagree and stay at a safe distance until you have gained consent to move closer
- If help is refused and you think urgent help is required call 999 and advise them that first aid has been offered and subsequently refused
Looking After Personal Belongings
- Keep the casualties personal belongings with them at all times
- You may need to search belongings for identification or any clues as to what has caused the condition. If this is the case ask for consent and if consent can’t be given try and do the checks in front of a witness
- After help has arrived ensure any personal belongings continue onwards with the casualty in the ambulance or are provided to the police
All of these steps will not only keep the casualty reassured, but should help to keep you as a first aider calm and confident in dealing with an incident and how to best approach a first aid situation, no matter what type of injury or illness you face.
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