Your patter for assessing orientation

firecoins

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I ask name, birthdate, year and president.

I never ask specific dates as people may not honestly know the date. People still may September despite it being October and be orientated. I ask year. If they tell me 1974, I know they may not be orientated.
 

firecoins

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And if you're en route, "where are you?" is even more tricky. I often have *no* idea where we are, and "in an ambulance" seems a little cute :rolleyes:

if they say in an ambulance, they are orientated.
 

firecoins

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LOL! Not all patients can answer that question even if they aren't altered. I was confused during the last administration on who was the president. Was it George or ****? ;-D

You should only ask questions that the patient is expected to know. Person, Place, Time, and Events.

so who's president? Obama or Rahn Emanuel?
 

Jon

Administrator
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if they say in an ambulance, they are orientated.
Yup. For example... on a transport the other day... I got... "In an ambulance...in New Jersey" It was accurate. Pt. described that they weren't from around the area. I've also had them tell me... "turning onto High Street".

I always ask who the president is, as well as inquiring about the present situation at other points in my assessment.

I once had a partner who would always ask "Where does Mickey Mouse live?". He got a large number of acceptable answers: "on the TV", "Disneyland" "Disney World" etc.
 

feral

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If they fell or MVA and couldn't tell you what happened do they know if they hit their head?
If they could tell you their name, where there at, and time/month/yr, or even president, but couldn't tell you what happened...is there still concern? Of course there is, and that is why we want to get a&ox4.
If they don't know what happened to them then the issue is severe enough to at least get checked out by the hospital whether it is trauma, diabetic emergency or whatever.
 

Kevin1990

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In ohio, near canton, we ask the person, place and time (day), and sometimes if its a trauma or a severe loc, we ask 4. Our standard is A&OX3, but it all depends on the company.
 

mycrofft

Still crazy but elsewhere
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Here's mine

"Look at your pantsleg" (County Jail)
"Look at your wristband" (name DOB and cross reference number)
"It's Tuesday, sir. OK, he's oriented".;)
 

nomofica

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Here we're taught GCS, AVPU and A&Ox3.
 

Aidey

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I was taught GCS and AOx4/AVPU scale.

What drives me bonkers more than anything is that AVPU and AOxwhatever are taught as separate assessments, and they aren't. You first determine if the pt is Alert, or responds to verbal stimuli, or painful or unresponsive. If you find them alert you then use the questions to determine how alert. Telling someone a patient is "Alert" doesn't tell me anything more than their eyes are open.

/rant


In most cases I start with "Hello my name is xxxx I'm a paramedic with the ambulance, what is your name?" If they can tell me, then I ask "What is going on today?" or some version of. If they can't tell me, then I ask them if they know where they are. If they get that one, I ask if they know the date.

I will also ask them to hold out one hand or the other so I can take a pulse. It's an easy way to assess if the pt can follow directions.

I usually end up asking a lot more than 4 questions with patients who don't answer one right. For example, if they don't know the date, I'll ask them the day of the week, then the month, then the year and see if they know those. If they don't know what building they are in (home, work, the grocery store etc) I will ask them if they know what city they are in.

A lot of times when we pick up homeless/transient patients they won't know the day of the week, but they will know the month and year. For them that may be totally normal. I also work nights, so at 1am a pt will answer Tuesday, when it's really Wednesday now. It doesn't mean they are altered, so you have to be able to assess the pt outside of the questions.
 

mycrofft

Still crazy but elsewhere
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Asked a frequent flier what day it was (or night as it were).

"FRIDAY".
(me) "Yeah?"
(him)"Yeah. You're here, aren't ya?!"
 

lightsandsirens5

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For LOC we use AVPU. To determine the mental status of an alert pt, we use A&Ox4. Person, place, time, event. (Or four other closly related questions.) For those of you that say that mental status and LOC are the same, I was taught that a person can be alert, but not mentally oriented. (And it makes complete sense.) Thus we use AVPU and A&Ox4.

I will use A&Ox4 on pts who I suspect of having a decreased mental status. Or on less talkative pts. Normally though, you can tell by the type of conversation they can carry on. If they are capable of that, they are probably oriented. Works great for IFT pts. Usually you can work those questions into your other assment questions on scene, or small talk en-route to the hospital.

If they are A&Ox4, and they look at you funny when you ask, I just tell them that I have to ask those questions and everyone gets asked them.:p
 

HCEMS

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I usually ask the basic three questions....person, place, and time. However, sometimes with geriatric pts I switch up the time with event or ask something that might be more likely for them to know because if they live in a nursing home or have assisted living where they maybe don't care about what day it is or it is not something that's relevant to their life.
 

BossyCow

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I can get most of that information in my general get acquainted conversation with the patient. Hi, my name is.... what's yours? (Knows self) When did this start? (Knows time) Where were you when this happened? (Knows Place) Then I usually toss in Do you know what day today is and Tell me about what happened.

I had one frequent flyer I really, really, really wanted to leave at home. When I asked her 'what year is it?' because I knew she probably didn't remember the day.. she responded.... 1988 (it was 2009) I told her.. no, that's not right.. and she got really pissy and said.. "Fine... 1989... like that makes a big difference" We transported... sigh.. she was drunk... and stinky... was checked out at the ER, released to call us again and again and again and again.
 

Fox800

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The most basic questions are those about person/place/time/event. What is your name? What city are we in? What month is it? What happened to you/why is EMS here?

Sometimes a patient may be able to answer those questions but may still be "altered". In instances where the patient's legal capacity is in question, we will perform a more thorough examination of their mental capabilities.

What is your birthdate?
Where do you live/what is your address?
Things as simple as remembering their medical history/medications/allergies.
How many dimes are in a dollar? How many quarters are in $1.75? Etc.
Who is the president of the United States?
Where is it safest for a child to play: in a city street, a playground, or a battlefield?
Start at 100 and count backwards, subtracting by 7 each time. 100, 93, etc...

We will state our concerns and possible consequences/reasoning for suggesting transport. If it is something that we are really worried about, we will make the patient repeat back "I understand that I may be having a heart attack and could die" or something to that effect, depending on the situation/differential diagnosis.
 
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