3 P’s – Priority of Treatment in First Aid

This post picks up on a theme we mentioned earlier – the 3 ‘P’s which can be used to guide first aid treatments and priorities. They’re often mentioned in the Child Care course, but not always emphasised on other courses because of teaching methods or time constraints. Here they are in order:

  1. Preserve Life
  2. Prevent Deterioration
  3. Promote Recovery

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Preserve Life

This is one of the main occupations for first aiders (the other one is treatment of minor conditions). Thankfully it’s easy. Even if you’ve not heard of the 3P’s you’ll know the A-B-C of first aid. To preserve life,

A – ensure the person has an airway. Learn how to deal with choking – it’s in every course.

B – ensure they are breathing. Make sure you know what to do if they aren’t! That’s in every course too.

C – Assess the quality of their circulation. Lack of circulation will quickly lead to lack of breathing!

D – Check for deadly bleeding. Ties in with the one above – if all the blood leaks out there soon won’t be any circulation… and then soon there will be no breathing either.

Prevent Deterioration

Stopping the condition worsening is what a lot of first aid is about, once we’ve dealt with preserving life. We’re not really in the business of curing things – that’s for the doc to do. We can still often stop them getting worse. Join a course for more details, but here are a few ideas:

  • Look after the person having a seizure
  • Help the diabetic who needs sugar
  • Treat the bleeding before it becomes worse
  • Stop the broken arm/leg moving while waiting for an ambulance
  • And so on….

Also in this category (preventing worsening of the condition) comes ‘wearing gloves’ to reduce the chance of infections, cleaning wounds, knowing who needs further help and who can go back to work/play, etc.

Promote Recovery

Finally if we have saved life (where appropriate) and prevented things worsening, we can promote the recovery of the person. This can include appropriate wound care advice, giving further care advice to parents/child minders, asking someone to come back to see the First Aider at work in 24 hrs, keeping good records, keeping someone at rest when they want to run about, and so on.

And it’s as simple as that – 3 P’s to help you prioritize.

If you liked that, you’ll love this.

About Tony Howarth

Tony is a First Aid & CPR Instructor Trainer with Sea 2 Sky Safety Training Services and the company founder. Tony started with the British Red Cross in 1994. Has acted as first aid attendant for hundreds of events & treated many hundreds of people as a result. He is experienced in training a wide range of courses. He previously worked as an ambulance attendant with the British Red Cross. He is now in BC as a first aid instructor, and an instructor trainer (one who trains others to become instructors) Finally, Tony works at UBC Hospital as a pharmacist when not busy training safety
This entry was posted in CCEFA, CPR, Uncategorized, WEFA. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to 3 P’s – Priority of Treatment in First Aid

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  8. This article is an excellent accompaniment to any basic first aid course and definitely provides great information.

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