Long-Term Care

Providing care in a bleeding emergency

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, April 7, 2011

Bleeding emergencies can be frightening, even for experienced personnel. Bleeding is caused by an internal or external vascular injury. Uncontrolled bleeding can rapidly lead to shock and death. Although the blood is distracting, always remember that maintaining the airway, breathing, and circulation are your top priorities.

Always apply the principles of standard precautions in bleeding emergencies. At a minimum, wear gloves. However, for copious bleeding, you will also need a fluid-resistant gown, protective eyewear, and a surgical mask. Protective eyewear should never be used without a mask, as aerosolized fluids can splash around the exposed sides, contacting the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Ideally, your facility will have an emergency box with equipment for managing bleeding emergencies. If not, what you use depends on what is readily available. If sterile materials are available, select them. If not, any clean padding may be used. 

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The Long-Term Care Nursing Desk Reference, Second Edition, by Barbara Acello, MS, RN.

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