Providing First Aid for Someone with Vision Loss
Examples of vision loss include tunnel vision (where a person cannot see objects to the side), lack of central vision, and total blindness, in which the person receives no visual information from the world around them. Most people with vision loss still have some degree of sight.
Keep the following in mind when providing first aid to an individual with vision loss:
- If you need to leave the person, let him or her know that you are leaving and will be back.
- Narrate your actions so that the person can follow what you are doing.
- If you’re unsure about how to provide directions, simply ask the person how he or she would like you to do so.
Providing First Aid for Someone with Hearing Loss
Keep the following points in mind when providing first aid to an individual with any type of hearing loss.
- Get the person’s attention before speaking. The best way to do this is usually by lightly touching the person’s shoulder or gently waving your hand.
- Ask the person how you can help. Don’t shout.
- If communication is difficult, ask if the person prefers to communicate in another way, such as using a pen and paper.
- Be patient if you are using a pen and paper to communicate. Sign Language may be the person’s first language and it has its own grammatical rules and sentence structure.
- If the person uses a hearing aid and you are having trouble communicating, minimize background noise or move to a quieter area, if possible.
Providing First Aid for Someone Who Is Deafblind
“Deafblind” describes people who have some degree of both vision and hearing loss. Many people who are deafblind are accompanied by an intervenor (a professional who helps with the communication). If an intervenor is accompanying the person, tell him or her who you are, but then speak directly to the ill or injured person. Don’t touch the person abruptly and don’t touch the person without permission.
Providing First Aid for Someone with a Physical Disability
There are many different types of physical disability, and not all of them are visible. The important thing is not to diagnose the person: what matters is determining whether the conditions you encounter are pre-existing or whether they are signs of the injury or illness you are providing care for. Keep the following tips in mind when providing first aid to an individual with a physical disability:
- Speak naturally to the person (physical and mental disabilities are not the same thing).
- Adjust your position if necessary so that you can make eye contact with the person while providing care.
Providing First Aid for Someone with an Intellectual or a Developmental Disability
It may not be apparent that a person has an intellectual or developmental disability unless this fact is communicated to you. Keep the following points in mind when providing first aid to an individual with an intellectual or a developmental disability,
- As much as possible, interact with the person as you would with anyone else in the same situation.
- Use straightforward language when communicating.
- Give one piece of information at a time.
Providing First Aid for Someone with a Speech or Language Impairment
Speech and language impairments may affect a person’s ability to communicate verbally, with written language, or both. Assistive devices such as communication boards are often used by individuals with severe speech or language impairments.
Keep the following tips in mind when providing first aid to an individual with a speech or language impairment.
- If possible, ask questions that can be answered with “Yes” or “No.”
- Give the person time to communicate and answer your questions.
- Wait for the person to finish speaking and do not try to finish his or her sentences.