Understanding the Use of SOCRATES in First Aid

Understanding the Use of SOCRATES in First Aid

Healthcare professionals and first-aid respondents use a mnemonic to help with pain assessment in patients. A mnemonic is something used to help jog the memory and in moments of crisis it can become very useful. For healthcare providers, SOCRATES is used as the mnemonic to help identify any underlying causes of pain. Heart 2 Heart, your provider of first aid & CPR training Toronto, breaks down the SOCRATES tactic:

S – The first letter stands for “Site”. It is important to determine the exact site of the pain in order to determine the cause of it. If a patient says that his leg hurts, the caregiver should find out from the patient a more exact location of the pain.

O – This letter stands for “Onset”. The information gathered will include when the pain first started and whether it is coming and going or remaining the same.

C – The “C” in SOCRATES stands for “Character “. What is the pain like? Can it be described as burning, sharp or aching? The patient should describe in his own words the character of the pain he is feeling.

R – This letter represents “Radiation”. It is important to find out whether the pain is radiating to a different part of the body and if it is whether the pain is constant or not.

A – The letter “A” stands for “Associated Features”. This takes into account any other problems or symptoms that the patient may be having.

T – This letter represents “Time Course”. The healthcare practitioner must find out whether the pain has been getting worse, better or remaining the same since it first started.

E – The “E” in SOCRATES stands for “Exacerbating Factors”. The individual caring for the patient should find out what makes the pain worse and what makes it better.

S – This stands for “Severity”. The patient should be asked to rate his pain on a scale from 1 to 10. This is called a pain score and it helps to determine the severity of the pain. After a treatment the patient will be asked to rate his pain again in a new unit of time.

When you learn first aid you’ll be in a position where you can apply the SOCRATES mnemonic without a second thought. It helps to establish a quick potential diagnosis on the spot, which is necessary when emergency care needs to be provided quickly. To learn more about first aid & CPR training Toronto by Heart 2 Heart,  or call 1-866-260-2790.