9. First Aid for the Elderly in Emergency


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Text and video by Fundacja “Małopolska Izba Samorządowa”, Kraków, Poland. Design and layout by e-Training Solutions, Berlin, Germany.


The elderly have to face various diseaseswhose symptoms may be aggravated at any time. Worrying symptoms and a rapid health deterioration of an elderly person may appear unexpectedly.

In such situations, it is necessary to take immediate action to help the elderly person and make sure not to harm them. It must be remembered that we are not always able to help a person whose health suddenly deteriorated on our own. There are situations in which we urgently need to call specialist medical assistance.

The following situations are related to thehealth deterioration emergencies concerningan elderly person where we can help them by ourselves and contact a doctor afterwards:a blood sugar level decrease in the case of diabetics, a pressure spike, intensified pain, e.g. in people with cancer, intensified shortness of breath in people suffering from a chronic respiratory disease.

The second group of cases of health deterioration in the elderly includes: fever, diarrhoea, cough, constipation, shortness of breath, urination problems, loss of appetite or a deterioration of the general state of being. These symptoms must not be underestimated,as attempting home treatment may have negative effects. Although they are not life-threatening, contact the doctor to establish the appropriate treatment.

There are also symptoms that require urgent contact with a doctor and calling an ambulance. These include the following:chest pain or any other severe pain, intense shortness of breath, haemorrhage, seizures (convulsions), sudden visual, hearing and speech problems, swelling of the extremities, injuries, e.g. fractures, dislocations, burns, loss of consciousness, food poisoning.

It is also necessary to call an ambulance if you do not know what category the symptom belongs to. Any mistake can have negative consequences, including the death of the person we care for.

Learning Objectives

In this module you will learn:

   How to deal with a sudden health deteriorations of an elderly person caused by various factors
   How to prevent complications associated with the immobilization of an elderly person


Expected Learning Effects

After completing this module, you will be able to:

   Provide first aid to an elderly person with a diabetic coma or a suspected heart attack
   Handle fractures, colds and other emergency situations related tohealth deterioration of an elderly person
   Prevent burns and bedsores, as well as to handle such symptoms when they occur in an elderly person


9.1. Diabetic Coma
9.2. Heart Attack
9.3. Falls and Fractures
9.4. Fainting and Losing Consciousness
9.5. Seizures (Convulsions)
9.6. Chafing
9.7. Nosebleed
9.8. Food Poisoning
9.9. Assessment


Estimated time to complete the module:

3 hours



This E-learning module is an open educational resource. It is mobile-friendly and device-independent. The module is designed for individual learners, however it can also be used as a part of a instructor-led training program.
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