SAMPLE information gathering in FIRST AID

S.A.M.P.L.E – Why is it so important?

You’re at work and suddenly you’re alerted to an incident, someone is unwell in the staff toilets. You attended a first aid course two years ago; the responsibility, therefore, falls onto you. You make your way to the staff toilets with the person who came to find you, they’re panicking and not being clear as to what is going on, your mind is racing, your heart is beating, this is the first time you’ve had to deal with anything like this.

You desperately try to remember what you learned on that three-day course, you also remember that you weren’t really interested in it, your manager made you do it and the instructor was really boring. It was just endless PowerPoint and endless stories about the instructor’s experience in the Royal Navy thirty years ago. You switched off by the lunchtime on the first day and then proceeded to look at your phone for the remainder of the course.

You walk into the toilets, you find a man, mid-thirties, lying on the floor, conscious but really pale and quite sweaty. You ask if he is okay, and he says that his heart is racing, and he feels dizzy. You there, knelt by him, the person that took you there is looking at you, but you don’t know what to say. Suddenly you have a lightbulb moment and remember DRABC: Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing & Circulation.

Danger, well it seems safe. Response, he’s talking, awake but on the floor and feels like he cannot stand. Airway, he is talking so his airway must be clear. Breathing, he is talking normally so again, his breathing must be normal. Circulation, you vaguely remember something about the pulse on the wrist so attempt to feel it but you can’t find it on either side. The person with you tells you that you shouldn’t be using your thumb, you try with your fingers but still cannot find it. Now what? You are at the end of the road, your knowledge has run out.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? Is it something that you could imagine happening to you? When you are with someone who is bleeding, it’s fairly straightforward, you try to stop the bleeding. When you find someone is not breathing, you do CPR, it’s scary if it is your first time but it is relatively straightforward.

Finding someone who is conscious but unwell like the person in the scenario requires some further questioning before deciding what to do next. What are the options? You could call an ambulance, or you could call 111 and get the person to talk to the call handler or you could call their emergency contact to take them home but that may not be suitable for this individual.

To make this decision, you need to ask questions and the format we can use is SAMPLE.

Signs / Symptoms – What can you see, hear, smell or maybe feel? How do they feel?

Allergies – Are they allergic to anything? Is it possible that they may have come into contact with that particular thing?

Medication – Are they on medication? What is it for? Have they taken it? Have they taken the right amount? Has the dosage been changed recently? Do they have the medication they need on them?

Past medical history – Are they generally fit and well? Do they have any pre-existing medical conditions?

Last meal – Have they eaten and drank something recently? What was it? Could they have low blood sugar or be dehydrated?

Events leading to the incident – What have they been doing over the last 24hrs? The last 12hrs? The last 8hrs? Try to paint a picture of life in the hours leading up to the incident.

By the end of this assessment hopefully, you will have enough information to make a decision, if you are unsure and something is telling you that this is not right, call 999.

If you are looking for quality First Aid training then visit the courses page on the website