If a patient is unconscious but breathing normally, then you should place them in the recovery position in order to protect their airway. Knowing how to place someone in the recovery position is a vital skill which everyone should know.
The recovery position involves rolling the casualty onto their side with their head tilted back. By doing this, the tongue is kept clear of the airway and any vomit is able to drain and not obstruct the casualty’s airway.
To place a casualty in the recovery position:
1. Kneel by the casualty’s waist 2. Place the hand closest to you at a right angle (so it looks like the casualty is ‘waving’) 2. Grasp the hand furthest to you, place the back of their hand against their cheek closest to you 3. Lift the leg furthest away from you at the knee and place their foot on the floor 4. Using their knee as a lever, pull the person onto their side 5. Ensure their head is still tilted back and they are on their side
Once the casualty is in the recovery position you should call for an ambulance if this hasn’t already been done. In addition remember to recheck the casualty’s breathing at regular intervals until further medical help arrives.
Video: The recovery position
Take a look at the following video which demonstrates placing a casualty the recovery position.
JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.