What is the Recovery Position?
Have you ever been in a situation where an individual became intoxicated or was unresponsive but breathing and you didn't know what to do next? For example, you called 9-1-1- but really didn't know what to do in the meantime. Intoxicated or unresponsive victims are more at risk of vomiting and choking and need assistance with being placed into the recovery position until emergency responders arrive at the scene.
What is the Recovery Position
The recovery position helps a semiconscious or unconscious person breathe and allows fluids to drain from the nose and throat so they they do not aspirate.
The recovery position places the victim in a position that keeps the airway open. If a patient is unconscious and vomits, they could choke. The recovery position helps prevent choking in these situations.
By just repositioning the victim correctly, you can decrease the possibility they will choke on vomit or other fluids and keep them safer. However, do not use the recovery position if the person has a major injury, such as a back or neck injury.
When DO I USE the recovery position?
If the victim is breathing and does not require chest compressions and rescue breathing (CPR), the victim should be placed in the recovery position. To place the victim in the recovery position grab the victims leg and shoulder and roll them towards you.
What are the steps to place someone in a recovery position?
1. Call 9-1-1.
2. Make sure the scene is safe and then assess the condition and responsiveness of the individual.
3. If the individual is unconscious and not breathing, then the victim/patient should not be placed in the recovery position. Further, the individual should then be placed flat on their back and CPR should be immediately administered.
4. On the contrary, if the individual is unconscious BUT seems to be breathing normally, this is an example of when the recovery position should probably be used.
5. To place the patient/victim in the recovery position, lay them onto their back and kneel down beside them.
6. Next, pull the arm closest to you out to a right angle, with the palm facing up.
7. Take their other arm and press it against their cheek on the side closest to you.
8. Using your other hand, take the patient’s knee on the side furthest from you and bend it to a right angle.
9. Hold the patient’s arm against their cheek, their leg at a right angle, and roll them towards you. They should land in a position where one hand is under the chin, their other arm is preventing them from rolling over, and their leg is supporting them in the position.
10. Finally, tilt their head back and ensure that their airway remains open.
11. Always remember to monitor and observe the patient until emergency first responders arrive. Specifically monitor the breathing of the individual to ensure that CPR is not needed.
Learn CPR and First Aid at help-a-heart cpr
Would you like to learn more about the recovery position? Sign up for First Aid and CPR training at Help-A-Heart CPR! Taking a class and receiving a certification is an empowering way to learn new skills while optimizing your own personal knowledge. Emergencies arise and result in unexpected medical emergences. By taking a CPR and First Aid class and learning more about the recovery position, you will gain the skills needed to provide emergency assistance.
CPR and First Aid classes at Help-A-Heart CPR are both engaging and educational. In less than 3 hours, you’ll learn how to administer CPR for victims of all ages, how to use an AED, and how to help choking victims. You’ll leave the class having gained a wealth of added knowledge, increased confidence in your abilities, and a certification card valid for two years.
Sign up today on our website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us using our online contact form or by phone at (210) 380-5344.
Dr. Tracy A. Jones is the CEO of Help-A-Heart CPR, LLC and an American Heart Association, ASHI, and American Red Cross Master Program Trainer, Instructor, & AHA Faculty Member located in San Antonio, Texas.