Bone, Muscle & Joint Injuries “Part 4 Slings”

Our last installments of Bone Muscle & Joint injuries focused on how it implement a splint within the emergency setting, now that we have taken care of an injury we can add some basic techniques to help the person rest in a comfortable position while you wait for an ambulance or while you are on rout to a medical facility. Always remember that “you may not have to move a patient” waiting for a Medical Professional may help minimize further injury or discomfort.

Slings:

“A sling is a bandage or cloth used to support an injured arm, consisting of a wide triangular piece of cloth hanging around the neck for support of the injured limb.”

There are 2 Main Types of Slings:

  1. Regular SlingThe arm is held horizontally across the abdomen
  2. Tube SlingThe Arm is held slightly vertical against the chest

How to apply a Sling:

a) Determine which type of “Sling” will help the casualty get the most comfort out of the least amount of movement of the injured body part. “Arm down – use Regular Sling / Arm up – use Tube SlingUse what you have available. Your sling material should be long enough to touch the floor and the casualty’s shoulder as a general rule and be in a triangular shape if possible “As wide as the torso is another way to utilize other materials not in a triangular shape

b) When possible, sling the injured part in the position in which it was found or the most comfortable. “Movement may increase pain and lead to long term damage or side effects“. Always consult a medical professional before moving a damaged body part.

Regular Sling:

  1. Check circulation by comparing the warmth and color of the fingers with the other hand “Ask the casualty if they are experiencing numbness or tingling, rings should be removed if possible
  2. From the most comfortable position, have the casualty support the injured arm, holding it across the body with the fingers pointed at the opposite shoulder:
  • Position the open triangular bandage under the injured arm, against the body. The point of the triangular bandage should extend past the elbow. The opposite, or bottom, end should be strait up and down on the body with the upper end over the shoulder.
  • Take the bottom end of the bandage and place it over the opposite shoulder.

3) Tie the bandage at the back of the neck, making sure that the knot does not create any discomfort.

4) Twist the top of the point of the bandage.

5) Tie a broad bandage from the elbow on the injured side across the body “To secure the sling against the torso

6) Recheck circulation

Tube Sling:

  1. Check circulation by comparing the warmth and color of the fingers with the other hand “Ask the casualty if they are experiencing numbness or tingling, rings should be removed if possible
  2. Put the forearm of the injured side across the chest, with the fingers pointed at the opposite arm.
  3. Position the open triangular bandage over the forearm and hand. “The point of the triangular bandage should extend past the point of the elbow and shoulder
  4. Support the forearm and carefully tuck the bandage under all the way from the hand to the elbow.
  5. Carry the end of the bandage near the elbow around the back. “Twist the top of the point of the bandage near the elbow to secure the elbow from coming out of the sling
  6. Adjust the height of the sling to make sure it is supporting the arm. “Tie the ends together in the hollow of the neck on the uninjured side
  7. Pad between the arm and the body, in the natural hollow with soft, firm material.
  8. Tie a broad bandage from the elbow on the injured side across the body.
  9. Recheck Circulation

How to help with a Bone, Muscle & Joint Injury:

1) Check the area, once the area is safe, Check the person and ensure the persons ABC’s are present “Airway / Breathing / CirculationREMEMBERWear gloves if available to avoid bodily fluids.

2) Call 911 and get an AED if you are alone, you suspect a Head / Neck or Spine injury, there is a motor vehicle collision, dangerous environment or the injured persons life could be at risk. “If you expect the ambulance to arrive shortly, keep the person still and do not splint the injury. If the ambulance can be delayed “Immobilize the injury in the position foundNEVER straighten a broken bone without medical assistance and expertise”

3) Care for the Bone Muscle & Joint Injury by:

Always follow recommendations by your Emergency Response professionals and 911 Dispatch personnel. “Never endanger yourself or the victim, you may “not” need to move or roll the injured person”

  • If there are other life threatening injuries, treat those first as quickly as possible with as little movement to the injured person.

a) Treat the injury using the “R.I.C.E” method

b) Cool the injured area for 20 minutes of every hour for the first 24 to 48 hours. If you use ice, put some sort of thin cloth or pad between it and the bare skin to avoid freezing the skin.

c) Elevate the injured are above the level of the heart if possible. “Often a position of comfort is more than enough to help alleviate pain and swelling

In any emergency just remember to Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!

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