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Injury Assessment

A sign is 'something that you see, hear or feel' such as a wound, bleeding, discolourations, or deformities. Whereas a symptom is 'something that the patient tells you is wrong' which may be nausea, thirst, dizziness, or pain.


Assessment first aid is the treatment of conditions that are not immediately life threatening uncovered during either an illness assessment or an injury assessment. For example, applying a bandage to a wounded patient is assessment first aid and lay rescuers can greatly reduce suffering and long term disabilities by applying their first aid skills.


Performing Injury Assessment

Step treads are declining in nature so a casualty's head can hit onto the higher steps making it easier to sustain serious injuries such as;


  • STOP - Assess and observe the scene

  • THINK - Consider your safety and form action plan

  • ACT - Check responsiveness and Alert EMS


Perform a primary assessment and monitor the patient's Cycle of Care AB-CABS


Explain the assessment procedure to the patient and apply protective barriers


Begin at the patient's head

  • Treat the patient in the position found and stabilize the head and neck responding orally

  • Check the forehead, cheeks and chin for deformities

  • Check the ears and nose for blood or fluid

  • Ask the patient to track your finger in front of their eyes for smooth tracking (no head movement)

  • Check the pupils for equal size and reaction to light

  • Feel the skull and neck for abnormalities

  • Slide your hands over the shoulder blades and gently push your palms against the back

  • Move your hands outward to the shoulders and gently press inward

  • Run two fingers cautiously over the collarbones

  • Slide a hand down each arm, stabilizing the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints (Check for swelling, hardness, tissue softness, points of tenderness or deformities). Ask the patient to wiggle the fingers and squeeze your hand

  • Gently press the rib cage feeling for abnormalities or pain

  • Reach around and feel along the spinal column from each side without moving the patient

  • Gently push on the abdomen, right and left side and above and below the navel

  • Gently push inward on the hip bones sliding a hand down each leg, knee, lower leg and ankle. Check for swelling, hardness, tissue softness, points of tenderness or deformities and ask the patient to wiggle the toes or press the sole of their foot against your hand


Note areas of pain or abnormality to report to EMS personnel, continue to monitor the patient's Cycle of Care and avoid giving injured patient's anything to eat or drink should they need surgery.