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EMS Education Tips

From the Editor
by Greg Friese, Editor-in-Chief

Patient in distress: Have a seat on this kitchen chair

Updated October 1, 2015

Consider this example: Our geriatric patient had lowered himself to the floor and crawled half way to the bathroom. The patient was uninjured and now was stranded on the floor. He lacked the strength to push his 275-pound frame off the floor. Have you ever encountered situations like this?

I like to use a kitchen chair as an intermediary resting place before moving patients like this back into a recliner, bed or patient cot. Take a good look at the chair before you let the patient plop into it. Make sure the legs, seat and back are stable and in good condition. 

This is what we did in this situation:

1) Confirmed that the patient was uninjured.

2) Helped the patient roll over onto his back.

3) Assisted him into a sitting position. My partner was in back and I was in front.

4) Assisted and lifted the patient to a standing position.

5) Spotted the patient, as he was able to support his own weight.

6) Asked a family member to slide a kitchen chair behind the patient.

7) Spotted the patient as he sat on the kitchen chair.

Now the patient was off the floor, able to take full and easy breaths, and able to look at us as he answered our history questions. We could assess his vital signs and collect history information with him in a more comfortable and stable position.

If a kitchen chair is not available, a patient wheelchair, walker with an attached seat, or a stair chair could serve the same purpose. Tell us in the comments area what methods you use to lift and assist uninjured geriatric fall patients.


About the author

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is Editor-in-Chief of EMS1.com. He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at greg.friese@ems1.com.
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