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Fears of First Aid

The ‘Fears of First Aid’ – Are you worried about being sued?

Fears of First Aid

We regularly get learners at our First Aid at Work courses who have worries, or confidence issues about providing First Aid to another person. We tend to call this the ‘Fears of First Aid’. There are many different fears and they can range from everything from a fear of blood to a fear of getting hurt yourself. We like to spend some time during our courses discussing these Fears of First Aid and how to overcome them. Surprisingly, we’ve found one of the most common fears is that you, the first aider, could be sued if the outcome isn’t good.

Despite the fact that no one in the UK has been successfully sued for providing Fist Aid, recent studies conducted by the St John’s Ambulance Service in England found that 34% of respondents would avoid getting involved in an emergency because of concerns about legal repercussions. In response to these perceptions, the UK government introduced the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism (SARAH) Bill in February of 2015. Of course, this doesn’t mean anyone assisting a casualty shouldn’t avoid acting recklessly, but it does mean that courts need to consider if the person was acting with a clear, helpful intent at the time.

To help keep you right, and to help tackle the Fears of First Aid, we’ve compiled a list of five things you can do to improve your confidence and put your mind at ease whilst giving your patient the best possible initial care.

Due to the specifics of each individual emergency scenario, these tips must be considered as general advice only, and are in no way a substitute for the Law as it stands.

1) Introduce Yourself

We can’t really be any simpler than that. Even if your patient appears to be unconscious, you need to introduce yourself to give the patient a chance to respond and also to let anyone else in earshot know what you’re there for.
Say something like, “Hello. My name is ……., I’m a First Aider”. Boom! You’re off to a flyer!

2) Get Consent to Assist

Again, keeping it simple is the best approach. Ask, “Can I help you?” If there is no response, it can be assumed that you have their consent. If they refuse, you must respect their wishes, but you should ensure, as far as is reasonable, that they come to no further harm. If in doubt, contact the emergency services.

3) Call the Emergency Services

This might seem like an obvious one but you’d be surprised to learn just how easy it can be to allow adrenaline or panic to take over and cloud your thinking if you’re not fully in control. With the professionals on the way, you can increase your patient’s chances. So make sure when dealing with your patient, keep  asking yourself, “Does this person need an ambulance?”. If you’re not sure, don’t take the risk. Call 999 or 112.

4) Stay within the Scope of your Training

Sure, you may have just watched a box set of Grey’s Anatomy, or an SAS documentary, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean you’re qualified to perform complicated medical procedures on your patient. So no amputations or tracheostomy procedures – you’re not Andy McNab and this isn’t the set of Grey Sloan Memorial! Only do what you’ve been trained to do by a qualified First Aid Instructor and you won’t harm the patient any further.

5) Stay with your patient until help arrives

As you can imagine, a patient, particularly one in a serious condition, would be understandably upset if the person providing assistance to them suddenly ups and leaves the scene before professional help has arrived.
So, while you may not necessarily have a duty of care to offer your assistance in the first place, if you do, you are required to stay with the patient until you’re satisfied they have made a full recovery or are in the capable hands of a professional, e.g. a paramedic or ambulance technician.

 
And there we have it – five simple steps you can take to keep yourself right when providing First Aid.

You can help improve your knowledge and confidence by attending one of our regularly scheduled First Aid courses. Contact us today for information on how to book a course and learn real, every day, life-saving skills.

hazards

Holiday Safety Hazards

Yes, it may be considered the most wonderful time of the year but Christmas tops the health hazards list, too.  Whilst this time of the year is the peak period for cold, flu (and in some cases hangovers), not all of the seasonal dangers are immediately obvious.  Many Christmas customs bring unexpected risks that can become serious health hazards during this yuletide season.

For some, the Christmas fun of completing age-old family traditions can become a minefield of dangers.  Read on to discover some of the most common seasonal dangers to be aware of this festive period.

  1. Decorating Dangers

A staggering 80,000 people seek hospital treatment every year for Christmas-related injuries.  Christmas mishaps come in all shapes and sizes, from cuts opening presents to falls putting up Christmas decorations, or even electrocutions from fairy lights.  Christmas poses some very real health risks so be sure to take extra care and precautions when assembling toys or putting up decorations.

  1. House Fires

The Christmas tradition of hanging stocking by the fireplace is only safe if you don’t have a fire going.  During the festive season, the percentages of fires in and around the chimney increased dramatically.  Plus, other classic Christmas decorations such as fairy lights or festive candles are both fire hazards.  Whilst it may not be Christmas without these classic decorations, you need to ensure that they are safe to use.  Make sure your Christmas lights carry the British Safety standard logo and remember to unplug them before going to bed!

  1. Snow and Sledging

If you’re lucky enough to wake up to a white Christmas, you’re sure to want to go out sledging to celebrate.  Whilst sledging is great fun and a classic Christmas tradition, it poses some major health risks.  When sledging you must ensure that you are in areas with plenty of open space where there is lots of room to stop safely at the bottom of a gently sloping hill.

  1. Drink Driving

Drinking too much at Christmas time is a pretty common occurrence during the holidays, whether it’s schmoozing with colleagues at the ill-planned work Christmas party or spending Boxing Day with extended family.  The number of fatalities associated with excessive drinking increases over the holiday season.  Make sure you don’t drink and drive this holiday season.

  1. The Christmas Coronary

The “Merry Christmas Coronary” is becoming a regular health hazard over the festive period.  Thanks to the over-rich and indulgent diets many adopt over the Christmas period and high levels of holiday-related stress, there is a rise in heart attacks over the festive season.  Make sure you stay safe and don’t over-do-it this Christmas!

With so many health hazards and dangers associated with Christmas, it’s important to recognise how a basic understanding of first aid can ensure peace of mind this holiday.  Gaining first aid certification could help you to save a life this Christmas.  Contact us today to start your first aid training.

 

head injury symptoms

Halloween Head Injury Handbook

This week, many of us will be busy celebrating Halloween. It’s a time that’s usually filled with enough blood to make even us first aiders feel slightly nauseous! Thankfully, most of it is usually fake. However, Halloween can be a time when a massive amount of pressure is put on EMS. Many people forget that whilst they may be dressed as a superhero, they don’t actually have superhuman powers. So, this week we’ll be looking into one of the most serious injuries that can occur. Whilst things may go bump in the night this week, we sincerely hope that one of them is not your head. So, without further ado, let us fill you in on some essential tips for spotting head injury symptoms & signs.

Types of Head Injuries

There are a few different types of head injuries. We’ve listed the main ones below:

  • Concussion – this is when the brain is shaken
  • Cerebral Compression – when swelling or bleeding puts pressure on the brain.
  • Fracture – this is when the skull is cracked caused by fractures resulting from direct or indirect force.
  • Cerebral Contusion – bruising on the brain.

Head Injury Signs & Symptoms

Head injuries can happen very easily. Common causes include a blow to the head, car accidents or even falling. Not every head injury occurs as a result of direct impact to the skull, so you should always check for signs no matter the situation.

Some of the common head injury signs & symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Sickness
  • Dizziness
  • Watery blood coming from nose and ears
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Personality change
  • Headache
  • Pain

What to Do if You Suspect a Head Injury

If you spot a person exhibiting head injury signs & symptoms, you must alert the EMS. It is then your job to monitor the patient until they arrive.

Lay the patient down, and gently raise their head and shoulders by a few centimetres to relieve pressure on the brain.  Monitor vital signs.  No food.  No drink.  Stay with patient, and prevent them from sleeping.

What is the AVPU scale?

A patient may lose or fall in and out of consciousness after suffering a head injury. The AVPU scale is the scale that is used to determine whether or not a person is unconscious. AVPU is an acronym to help you remember the steps, which are as follows:

  • Alert – check whether the patient is alert, although not necessarily orientated.
  • Voice – Does the patient respond to voice?
  • Pain – are they responding to pain or touch?
  • Unresponsive – they are failing to respond to any of the above.

Head injuries can be very serious and result in severe trauma, so it’s important that you recognise them early. Although you cannot treat a head injury yourself, you can help the patient gain prompt access to medical care. Recognising head injury symptoms and signs is crucial. Remember that not all occur as a result of direct impact to the skull. They could just as easily be triggered by landing on your feet, with the impact transferring up through your body and damaging the brain.  Be aware that spinal injuries could be a result of this type of impact. It is your job as a first aider to recognise head injury symptoms & signs and monitor the patient’s wellbeing until EMS arrives.  Recognising these symptoms could help you to become someone’s superhero – with or without the costume. Keep it in mind this Halloween.

heart attack symptoms

Affairs of the Heart: How to Spot the Signs of a Heart Attack

A heart attack can lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the most common cause of death in the United Kingdom. This week, we celebrated Restart a Heart Day. It is a day dedicated to the awareness of CPR training. CPR or ‘Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation’ is used when the heart has gone into cardiac arrest. Although a heart attack is not the same as cardiac arrest, it is very serious. It signals that the heart is in serious trauma, meaning that it may stop at any time. Knowing the main heart attack symptoms allows you to seek treatment earlier. The earlier a patient receives treatment, the higher their chance of survival is.

What Causes a Heart Attack?

A heart attack is caused by a blockage or restriction of blood to the heart. It results in a starvation of oxygenated blood to the heart and body, which then causes the trauma we mentioned above. Blockages are more common in arteries that have been narrowed by a build-up of plaque, which is made up of cholesterol particles. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise contribute to high cholesterol, which is why it is so important to live a healthy lifestyle.

Never Delay Treatment

One of the biggest problems when dealing with a heart attack is that people brush off common heart attack symptoms as something else. Many of the earlier signs can easily be explained away as something minor. Therefore, treatment is delayed and more damage is done. By spotting the signs early, you may be able to provide the patient with the best chance of recovery.

Heart Attack Symptoms

One of the first things that people experience during a heart attack is chest pain. Although this seems like an obvious warning sign, many still discount it. Not all heart attacks start with a severe gripping pain in your chest. It can feel like indigestion, which it is commonly mistaken for. However, the pain can swiftly radiate from your neck to your jaw and down one arm – usually your left.

Dizziness and nausea can swiftly follow. Again, many people shirk this off as the beginnings of a virus. Someone experiencing a heart attack may display signs of becoming pale grey and will often have sweaty skin. These signs are often accompanied by other symptoms including difficulty in breathing and a rapid, irregular pulse. Many of the symptoms above mirror those associated with other conditions; such as indigestion, stress or a panic attack. Yet, they are signs that your body is imploring you to get help. Do not ignore them. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

First Aid for Heart Attacks

If someone is experiencing heart attack symptoms, it is crucial that you immediately contact the Emergency Medical Services. Whilst you wait for their arrival, it is important that you try to keep the patient calm. Loosen clothing and place them in a position where their back is against a flat surface, such as a wall, and their knees are raised with feet flat on the floor. If the patient can speak, ask them if they have medication for angina. If so, assist them to take it. Also, ask if they are allergic to aspirin, or if they’ve been prescribed any blood-thinning medication. If not allergic and you have some at hand, advise them that chewing ONE 300mg aspirin tablet can be useful for adults. Whilst you are doing this, be sure that you are monitoring their vital signs, particularly breathing and circulation.

When is CPR required?

We mentioned above that we recently celebrated Restart a Heart Day, to help train more people in CPR. This is because, during cardiac arrest, any time that the body spends without oxygen lessens a person’s chance of survival. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops, which can happen at any time during a heart attack. If a person’s heart attack symptoms have become so severe that they fall unconscious and stop breathing, it is time to perform CPR. It is important to remember that in a case of cardiac arrest, CPR, on its own, will not ‘restart’ the heart. If possible, obtain an AED unit to deliver a shock, but do not leave the patient to go looking for one. The EMS will have one when they arrive.

Recognising common heart attack symptoms is crucial in getting a person early access to medical treatment. Delaying treatment increases the chance of the patient falling into cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, 60% of the UK population has not been trained in CPR which means many people die needlessly as a result of this lack of training. We want to change this. Learning how to effectively carry out CPR and use AED units, come as part of our training courses. Every workplace should have a person with these skills, should the worst happen. It is a vital part of keeping your employees safe.

For information on any of our first aid or health and safety courses, get in touch. We even offer a free consultation, to help you best assess the needs of your premises.