The Patient Advice section of your Patient Care Record is there for immediate generalised advice around some common injuries and illnesses.
Occasionally, an initially presenting injury or illness could develop into something more serious or even life-threatening issue than originally thought.
If you need any further advice please use a service from this range of treatment options available;
- Self Care
- Visiting your pharmacist
- Seeing your GP (Doctor)
- Call 111
- Go to A&E or call 999 – for emergency medical treatment
The advice below will help you to determine if the condition is potentially life threatening. You, your carer / relative should call 999 and ask for an ambulance if the patient;
- Stops breathing
- Loses consciousness or blacks out
- Develops new or worsening chest pain
- Develops new of worsening difficulty breathing
- Starts choking
- Develops heavy or uncontrollable blood loss
- Has a fit (unless the patient is a known epileptic, and the fit follows its usual pattern for them)
Most minor illnesses are just minor, and can be effectively treated at home by seeing your local Pharmacist, GP or with over the counter medicines.
In some cases, things can arise, which could mean a more serious underlying condition – in the cases marked above, call 999 and ask for an ambulance; For other symptoms, or if you are unsure, you should call 111.
If any of the symptoms below occur, get to your nearest hospital emergency department as soon as possible:
- Unconsciousness, or lack of full consciousness (for example, problems keeping eyes open)
- Drowsiness (feeling sleepy) that goes on for longer than 1 hour when you would normally be wide awake
- Problems understanding or speaking
- Loss of balance or problems walking
- Weakness in one or more arms or legs
- Problems with your eyesight
- Painful headache that won’t go away
- Vomiting (being sick)
- Seizures (also known as convulsions or fits)
- Clear fluid coming out of your ear or nose
- Bleeding from one or both ears
Symptoms can present hours, or even days after the initial injury.
Things that will help you get better
- If you follow this advice you should get better quicker and it may help any symptoms you have to go away:
- DO NOT stay at home alone for the first 24 hours after the injury
- DO make sure you stay within easy reach of a telephone and medical help
- DO have plenty of rest and avoid stressful situations
- DO NOT take any alcohol or drugs
- DO NOT take sleeping pills, sedatives or tranquilisers unless they are given by a doctor
- DO NOT play any contact sport (for example, rugby or football) for at least 3 weeks without talking to your doctor first
- DO NOT return to your normal school, college or work activity until you feel you have completely recovered
- DO NOT drive a car, motorbike or bicycle or operate machinery unless you feel you have completely recovered.
You can find further support and information from the Headway website: www.headway.org.uk
Diabetes (Hypoglycaemia – Low Blood Sugar)
Low blood sugar can occur in anyone – even if they don’t have diabetes.
Most diabetic emergencies can be treated at home using high sugar content foods and drinks, and emergency medication prescribed to the patient (e.g. Injected Glucagon / Glucose).
It is very important that after a hypoglycaemic event, the patient continues to eat long lasting carbohydrates (e.g. bread, pasta), as it is easy for another hypoglycaemic event to occur, usually being a lot worse.
Anyone suffering from recurrent events should seek advice from their GP as a matter of urgency.
You can find further support and information from the Diabetes UK website: www.diabetes.co.uk
Fits / Convulsions
You should dial 999 and ask for an ambulance if the patient:
- has never had a fit before, or if you are unsure
- fits for more than five minutes
- fits again and again without waking up in between
- is injured during the seizure
- needs urgent medical attention
You can find further support and information from the Epilepsy Action website: www.epilepsy.org.uk
Alcohol and Drugs
When being responsible for the patient you should:
- Try to keep them awake and sitting up.
- Give them some water, if they can drink it.
- Lie them on their side in the recovery position if they’ve passed out, and check they’re breathing properly.
- Keep them warm.
- Stay with them and monitor their symptoms.
- If they get no better, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.
If you’re concerned about someone’s or your own drinking, Drinkline runs a free, confidential helpline. Call 0800 917 8282.
Guidance is given in-line with current NICE Guidelines and JRCALC Clinical Guidelines (Correct at time – Jan 2015).