Thank you to Sophie for submitting the following question:

I recently attended to a gentleman who collapsed at my local post office, when the Paramedics arrived i provided a handover but they continued to check all the things I had already been through. As a first aid trainer I thought that the information I provided would have been useful. The first aid unit requires students to handover to emergency personnel, can you provide me an idea of what information is useful and what is not so that I can pass this on to my students?

Reply by Matt Meister – Intensive Care Paramedic

The handover of a patient (essentially the passing on of medical care from one carer to another) is a very important process in the management of a person whom is sick or injured. Importantly a succinct and informative story or handover must be given to allow continuing patient management to both maximise care but to also ensure mistakes aren’t made.

In your case, I am sure that you have passed on everything to the arriving ambulance crews who have taken note of what you have said and have done very well! With any case paramedics attend they will always want to start over again to ensure that nothing is missed (and that may mean asking the same questions) and even though sometimes the paramedics may not look directly at you they are certainly listening and working concurrently with the patient.

Perhaps the most widely used and recognised handover is the AMIST accronym.

A – Age and name,
M – Mechanism of injury or how it happened or what has been happening
I – Injuries or complaints
S – Sign and symptoms – pulse rate, breathing rate, skin colour etc
T – Treatment and what you have done.

For the case given it would go possibly something like this;

This is John he is 70 years old (A), he was at the shops today and whilst at the post office he felt dizzy and then collapsed to the ground feeling faint but did not pass out (M). He complains of some pain to his left leg and feels sick (I). He has a pulse rate of 100, feels cool to touch and a breathing rate of 20 (S). We have kept him lying on the ground and monitored him as well as called his wife to let her know what is occurring (T). 

The above would be a good start to give a succinct snap shot of what has occurred so far and obviously with time and practice more can be added (such as allergies, medical history etc).

One last note, even when patient’s are handed over at hospital the same cycle of questioning will occur by the doctors and nurses all in an effort to make sure that every bit of helpful information is sought – it happens every time there is change of medical personnel.

I hope this answers your question and all the best!!