One of the basic rules of providing first aid is to ask the casualty’s permission to help them as a first responder. This rule also applies when assisting them with medications during a medical emergency.
Immediate and effective intervention can make a significant difference when assisting an ill or injured person. Giving proper treatment and helping with the medications can save the victim’s life until they receive full treatment from emergency medical services.
Medications and First Aid
First things first, a trained person providing first aid is not allowed to diagnose and prescribe medications to a casualty. However, they can help people take their prescribed medicines in an emergency.
To do this, the individual must be awake and responsive, which means that they can indicate which medications to take and where to find them. The responder can help by getting a hold of the medicine and giving it to them for self-administration.
Carefully check the label to see if it’s the right prescription and read the instruction and warning at least twice. These precautions will ensure that they get the correct dosage before giving it to them.
In addition, ask them about their history of allergies or if they have taken something that might cause a negative reaction. Once confirmed, get their permission before giving or helping them take the medication.
(First aid tip: Make a written note of the medications, including information on the dosage and the time the medicine was taken. This will help EMS personnel with their next course of action).
Medications in First Aid Kit
If there is an instance where you keep medications for yourself or a family member at home in a first aid kit, they should be kept secure and out of reach of small children. Otherwise, there can be a potential adverse outcome relating to usage.
For workplace first aid kits, employers have a duty to maintain and provide first aid kits that meet the requirements in Australia’s Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines.
Some worksites may require more than the minimum first aid services, supplies, and equipment depending on the risk and dangers within the workplace.
The Five Rights of Medication Administration
The five rights should always be regarded to ensure medication safety – be it for personal use or in a professional setting.
Double-check the bottle and its label to prevent taking the wrong medications.
There is usually an instruction on the label on what dose needs to be given. Use a dosing cup or syringe to get the right measurement. If the medication does not come with either of the two, be sure to ask the pharmacist.
Ask your doctor how often a medicine should be taken and which time of the day.
Check the order and appropriate route to confirm that the person takes or receives the right medication.
Take a careful look at the person’s name and ensure that it matches the name or descriptions in the bottle. This is particularly important in households and hospitals with multiple people on different medications.
This article aims to shed some light on using medications in first aid scenarios, including the specific guideline on what and what not to do in emergencies.
To sum it up, first aiders are not allowed or encouraged to diagnose, prescribe, or administer medications to the casualty. However, they are allowed to assist them in taking them only if the casualty is responsive and can identify the medication properly.
In stocking medications in first aid kits, always remember that each is different – and medications are often subject to individual needs.
Every person has different medication requirements and should only take those that are prescribed by doctors.
For more first aid and lifesaving tips, enrol in a first aid course.