Basic First Aid to Identify Depressed Mood and [Hidden] Depressed Ventilation [the motor part of breathing].

Basic first aid for examination of awake patients is as easy as learning your A,B,C’s;

A -is for Airway; check the airway [for unsuspected obstruction]

B – is for Breathing; with the help of a stopwatch, count respiration rate per minute.- Getting the minute volume is even better…would require a handheld spirometer.

C – is for Circulation; check the circulation; check the pulse, look for signs of vasoconstriction, edema, dehydration, or vasodilation.

C- Check Consciousness; Consciousness consists of 2 elements, the level of Arousal and the Content of consciousness or cognitive level.

Level of Arousal involves both the external signs of arousal of the patient and the internal state of the patient. For example the patient might look very depressed and quiet, yet report an unbearably high level of chronic arousal or distress.

Cognition may be intact or mildly impaired or very impaired; a very fast way to check for cognitive impairment is to as have the patient tell you their address and then for you to check to see if they are correct. Loosing your memory for your own address is a big red flag and indicates the need to look after the patient until their memory recovers.


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