By: Kate Pula, Training Officer, 2015
ABC stands for Airway, Breathing, and Circulation; these life signs are the first thing to check after approaching the patient. These are a very important part of every patient assessment no matter what type of call it is and should be checked before the start of patient assessment. It’s important to remember to check ABCs for every patient, although many patients are responsive and talking with us. In addition, any life threats that are found when checking life signs should be treated immediately: assist breathing, administer oxygen, stop life-threatening bleeding, etc.
Finally when checking life signs on an unresponsive patient, the pulse (circulation) should be checked first. If no pulse is found, then proceed with CPR. If a pulse is found, then proceed with the nor- mal ABCs. So with an unre- sponsive patient the order is CAB – Circulation, Airway, and Breathing.