Care for an Unconscious Patient
An altered state of consciousness (ALoC) is any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking state There are many causes of ALoC including: Drugs/Medication; Lack of nutrients; Low oxygen (hypoxia); Low blood sugar; Epilepsy; Concussion; Cerebral Compression; Head injury.
Concussion is type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.
- Immediate unconsciousness (even for a very short period)
- Dizziness on recovery
- Unsteadiness on feet
- Loss of memory
- Mild generalised headache
- Check levels of consciousness AVPU
- Call 999/112 for V,P or U
- Maintain airway
- Place in recovery unless c-spine injury suspected or for airway
- Complete FAST Assessment
- Obtain SAMPLE History from patient, relative or bystander
- Check medication carried or medical alert jewellery
- Maintain care until handover to appropriate Practitioner
Cerebral Compression is where there is pressure on the brain caused by swelling or bleeding. This can be as a result of a head injury, stroke, tumor or infection.
- drowsiness, confusion,
- progressive loss of consciousness.
- Ensure safety (gloves?)
- Position patient sitting down
- Examine wound
- Apply pressure to wound with dressing
- Keep dressing in place with a bandage
- Arrange transportation to hospital
- Monitor vital signs, pulse & breathing & responsiveness
The Recovery Position
If a person is unconscious but is breathing and has no other life-threatening conditions, they should be placed in the recovery position.
Some incidents in which the recovery position can be appropriate are:
- deteriorating diabetic emergency
- Keeps airway clear and open
- In the case of vomiting it ensures the airway remains clear