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In this segment, we are going to talk about illness assessment. Remember, an illness is defined as an unhealthy condition of the body and you may be dealing with someone who is mildly feeling unwell or someone with an underlying medical condition. There is a simple process of assessing somebody that we can follow which is remembered by using the pneumonic S.A.M.P.L.E.
S - Signs and Symptoms - Look for signs such as temperature, skin colour and pulse rate. Ask the patient questions to determine their symptoms, like asking if they feel unwell or feel nausea, pain or discomfort.
A - Allergies - we need to ask the patient if they are allergic to anything like types of food, stings, and antibiotics.
M - Medication - we need to ask the patient if they are on any medication or have taken any medication today.
L - Last Meal - Asking the patient when they last ate. What they last ate may give you an idea about why they feel unwell or maybe can indicate that what they have or have not eaten recently may have affected their diabetes for example.
E - Events - Asking what the events were that led up to the patient becoming unwell. For example, a diabetic who had been feeling unwell for a number of hours or days could be suffering from hyperglycemia. If the diabetic patient had said the feeling unwell had come on rapidly, it could indicate that they are suffering from hypoglycemia.
As discussed with SAMPLE, we need to find the person's pulse and respiration. A good way of doing this is to find their radial pulse with three fingers and count how many beats there are in thirty seconds. You are also looking for whether the pulse is weak, rapid or irregular. When you are checking someone's respiration, you are counting the number of breaths in 30 seconds. It is a good idea to leave your fingers so that the patient thinks you are checking their pulse still as if they know you are counting their breaths, they may inadvertently increase them. The adult heartbeat is between sixty and ninety beats per minute and adult respiration is between 12 and 20 breaths per minute.