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How to Assess Patients Using AVPU Scale

Being able to successfully evaluate the level of consciousness of the patients is one of the important skills for first aiders. The wide range of injuries as well as medical conditions can greatly affect the levels of consciousness that is why first aiders must recognize the improvement or deterioration in patients.
It is good to know that there are a lot of scales used in order to record the patients’ levels of consciousness and one of which is the AVPU Scale, which stands for ‘alert, voice, pain, unresponsive’. In this kind of system, the first aider, health care professional, or EMS can measure and at the same time record patients’ responsiveness, thus indicating the level of consciousness.

AVPU Scale: An In-Depth Look

AVPU Scale is the simplified version of Glasgow Scale, which is very easy to remember and apply to the patients. The scale is mainly consists of four different possible stages. When it comes to recording the AVPU, it is very much important to document the time of a certain observation that was taken. This is to done in order to track the changes over the time for this will help the medical staffs. In first aid, the AVPU score less than A is considered as indication to get help as the patient is likely to be in need of a more definitive care.
Assessing the Level of Awareness of the Patient.


Being alert does not always mean that you understand or know what is going on around you. Knowing all the things is described as being “oriented”. Being alert means that a certain patient is reasonably acting to the stimuli of the normal environment and you can tell that by means of looking at the patient for a few seconds.


This simply means that the patient responds to the verbal stimulus. For instance, the patient may open their eyes or even move around. But when a certain patient opens their eyes and utters the word ‘huuuhh??’ the patient will be described as not being alert, but rather responding to verbal. The patient who keeps on falling back to sleep and mainly needs people around them to yell at them to wake up would be described as responding to the loud verbal and not as alert.


If a certain patient does not respond to verbal at all not matter how loud you yell, it is now the best time to move into the next step which is to cause them a pain in order to see how the patient responds to it. In this category, the patient only responds upon the application of the pain stimulus. There are different methods to apply pain stimulus such as squeezing the patient’s fingers or even pinching the back of the hand.


If you cause a certain pain to the patient and he or she does not respond at all, that is bad as it could get. This is also seen noted as ‘unconscious’. This type of outcome is mainly recorded if and only if the patient does not give an eye, motor or voice response to the pain or voice.

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ILS went really well thank you. Just to give some feedback, Martin the course trainer was brilliant. I have been on ILS courses before and have found the trainers to be a little full on and not really understand care giving and emergencies outside of acute NHS Hospital trusts. Martin understood the skills (and resources available) of nursing staff working in primary care in independent sectors and the situations that they may face.
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