Recovery Position

When do you put someone into the Recovery Position?

If no serious bleeding, shock or spinal injury is found or suspected, you place your unconscious, breathing patient in the recovery position.

You place an unconscious, breathing patient in the recovery position to decrease the risk of airway obstruction by the tongue or aspiration of body fluids.

How do you put someone into the Recovery Position?

Step 1

Kneel at the patients’ side and place the arm nearest to you out at a right angle to the patients’ body with the elbow bent and the palm upward

Step 2

Bring the casualties far arm across the chest and hold the back of the hand against the patient’s cheek nearest to you – keep hand in place

Step 3

With your other hand, grasp the far leg underneath the knee and raise so it is bent the ankle should be in line or higher than the other legs knee, keeping the foot on the ground

Step 4

Place your hand on the outer edge of the casualty knee, keeping your other hand holding the casualties hand to their face and press down on the knee towards you.

Press, do not pull as you are using the leg as a pivot

Step 5

Continue pressing on the knee

Until the casualty knee is on the floor, with the leg at a very firm right angle against your outer leg.

Step 6

You can now start to move back from the casualty keeping hold of the head. As the casualty gentle moves forward of their own accord, gently let the head lower.

The casualty arm will rest on the lower arm

Step 7

If need be, gently pull back on the patient’s head to assure an open airway

And if the mouth is not open – open

Step 7

Stay with your casualty and continually monitor their breathing, until an ambulance arrives.

Additional Points

If the patient has to be kept in the recovery position for more than 30 minutes, the recommendation is to turn the patient to the opposite side to relieve the pressure on the lower arm and casualties side.

It is strongly advised that you attend one of our courses to understand what to do in a medical emergency. 

Rutland First Aid Training provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. Rutland First Aid Training is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

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