I am a physiotherapist / first aider at Athletic events and I’d like to ask a few queries?

  1. Should a person be assessed prior to giving ice out? I think the answer is yes.
  2. Should we be keeping detailed notes for each person who presents not just the minimum? Again I think the answer is yes.
  3. How do we cover ourselves for verbal advice given, be it to follow up or to not compete? Write it and get them to sign and you sign and another witnesses? Normally you have two signatures but what if only one person is working?
  4. Do you recommend some good pro-forma for noting down findings/ assessment and treatment given?
  5. Last but certainly not least; should the AED be noted as to its location for each and every event? Currently it could be locked away, it could be at the warm up track or at the main stadium. It is of no fixed abode or easy to access or locate. I realise security for a $3000 piece of equipment is the underlying issue but I find it worrisome.
  6. Are the same laws applicable in NZ?

These questions are too specific to answer effectively here.  The answer in each case will depend on the circumstances in which the first aid is being provided,  the types of injuries that might arise etc.  This requires particular advice based on the particular circumstances rather than a discussion here.  In very general terms:

  1. I think I have previously answered this – see Don’t be bullied into inappropriate first aid treatment (November 14, 2015).
  2. This is a question of risk assessment. The more complex the issue the more detailed the notes but taking detailed notes takes time, they need to be stored and retrievable and what really is the risk?  In any event, see Completing paramedic case records (September 3, 2015) and First aid patient records – who and what are they for? (January 31, 2015).
  3. One should try to keep contemporaneous notes of the discussions and advice. Whether you can get the person to sign is an issue in each case.  Certainly ambulance services have forms for patients who decline treatment and they ask them to sign those forms, but of course the person doesn’t have to.  There is no ‘rule’ that you have to have multiple witnesses or indeed any.   Again consider what are the records for, and what is the risk.
  4. No I can’t recommend a particular ‘pro forma’.
  5. Again it’s a question of risk – who’s going to use it and what processes are in place to call for it? If people don’t know where the AED is or how to access it then there is no point having one.  There should be some way to get it, or summons it; but as for how that is managed at a  particular event or venue that again requires specific advice.
  6. No, the law in Australia is not the same as in New Zealand, in particular New Zealand has the Accident Compensation Commission which provides no fault personal injuries compensation. A person cannot sue another for negligently inflicted injuries so issues of negligence law are not directly applicable in that jurisdiction.