AVPU stands for Alert, Voice, Pain, and Unresponsive. AVPU is a way to determine the level of responsiveness and consciousness (the “A” means alert and can be substituted by “G” or “M”).
If a person is alert, they should answer any questions coherently and without difficulty concerning their age, name, location, or date. An awake patient also has a clear pathway for air to speak correctly.
If a person responds by voice, they should say their name clearly and loudly enough to be heard at least six feet away from them.
Painful stimuli can induce changes in respiration depth, depth of consciousness, and heart rate. A patient should have the same response strength as when given a painful stimulus while pinched hard on the skin between your thumb and index finger (20-25 lbs). The patient will squeeze with approximately 50 pounds of force if they are in pain.
An unresponsive patient does not respond to the above stimuli and will remain lethargic no matter how many times these stimuli are administered.
How To Perform AVPU Step by Step:
Step 1: Activate Emergency System
In an emergency, there is no time to waste on discovering what has happened. Emergency responders must act swiftly and decisively. The first step of the AVPU system works towards this end by identifying if the casualty needs some assistance.
Step 2: Check For Response
For all you know, the person has fainted due to emotional stress or fallen into unconsciousness due to injury. There are also some other possible causes of unconsciousness that you need to be aware of, such as the result of some medical ailments, poison intake, fainting spells, head injuries, and seizure disorders.
Step 3: Assess For Verbal Response
If the casualty is not responding, you will have to see if they can verbalize their condition. If they can talk to you, give them a simple command and check whether they obey. It could be that they are in pain and cannot answer your question clearly due to this. However, it should not be too difficult to find out if they are in pain.
Step 4: Assess For Response For Pain
If you suspect that the person has suffered a head injury, you must test this by applying pressure on the skull with your fingers. Never attempt to remove any blood clot or foreign object from the wound, as it would only increase the size of the injury.
Step 5: Assess For Eye Opening
If the person is conscious but unable to respond to you verbally, gently shake their shoulder and ask them if they can open their eyes. If they can do so, ask them what day it is or where they are so that you can determine whether they have been badly injured or not.
Step 6: Assess For Response To Pain
If you notice that the casualty is having a seizure, make sure no one touches them. This can cause further injury and even death if done incorrectly. People going through a take may try to bite their tongue or injure themselves by striking objects nearby. This is why you should always keep a reasonable distance from the person. Once the seizure is over, make sure they are breathing.
Step 7: Check For Shock
If you suspect that a person has suffered a head injury and cannot answer your questions coherently, you must also be aware of their state of mind and whether or not they appear to be alarmed and agitated. If you notice that a person is in a state of shock, they may not appear to be aware of their surroundings. This could be due to their condition and injuries.
Step 8: Assess For Bleeding
If the person is bleeding severely or appears to be having difficulty breathing, you must stop this immediately by applying pressure on the wound. The best way to do this would be to place a sterile bandage over the area and apply pressure until help arrives. If there is no bandage available, use your hands and press down firmly.
Step 9: Assess For Fractures
The next thing to do will be to check if any bones are fractured. This is done by gently running your fingers over the injured area and checking for any irregularity in the shape of the bone. If you notice that a bone feels out of place, this might indicate a fracture.
Step 10: Assess For Sensitivity
Finally, check if the person is in some pain. If there are any visible signs of injury or blood, this might indicate a fracture. However, you must be careful when assessing if the person has some damage because they may have suffered an emotional shock instead. They may also not be aware of their injuries due to a state of shock.
Following Are the Benefits of AVPU:
Advanced techniques like the A-V-P-U method are good tools to have in your knowledge arsenal. Here are the benefits of this technique.
1. Increased Speed
The A-V-P-U method is primary yet efficient. It allows you to save more lives in less time. Instead of alternating between different steps, this method will enable you to quickly assess the patient’s condition and act with a straightforward solution.
2. Ease Of Use
The best part about using the A-V-P-U method is that anyone can save lives in stressful times. If someone falls unconscious, knowing what to do is key to saving lives. This method is designed to make checking for signs of life easy, even in hectic situations.
3. Reduces Risk Of Error
It’s stressful enough to try and save someone’s life when you’re under pressure, but making mistakes can compound it further. The A-V-P-U method reduces the risk of error in stressful situations. The simplicity of this technique makes it easier to remember and execute, making everyone’s life a bit easier in an emergency.
4. Efficient and Cost-Effective
Being efficient and not wasting time is one way to save lives. A-V-P-U is an excellent example of a technique that saves time and energy. This method decreases the time needed during an emergency, thus saving lives and money.
5. Avoids Panic
In life or death situations, but using A-V-P-U helps prevent this from happening by using only one action to assess the patient. This is an excellent way to avoid errors and maintain composure.