How to Put Someone in the Recovery Position

One of the biggest dangers for an unconscious patient is suffocation. Placing an unconscious casualty in the recovery position may save their life.

The recovery position keeps the airway open, allows saliva or vomit to drain from the mouth, and is a stable position in which to leave a patient if necessary.

The tongue can block the airway and cause suffocation

The airway is easily blocked in an unconscious patient. The tongue can fall backwards and physically block air from moving in and out of the lungs. In addition, vomit and blood can also block the airway.

The recovery position is also known as the Safe Airway Position (SAP). Let’s take a look at how to place an unconscious but breathing patient into the recovery position.

How to Put Someone in the Recovery Position

  1. Kneel beside the patient and remove glasses and any bulky objects in pockets.
  2. Straighten the patient’s legs.
  3. Place the nearest arm at right angles to the body, with the elbow bent up at a right angle and the palm upwards.
  4. Take the patient’s far arm and bring it across the chest towards you, placing the back of the hand against the patient’s cheek.
  5. Grasp the patient’s far-side leg and bring the knee upwards, keeping the foot on the floor. Pull on the raised knee to roll the patient towards you.
  6. With the patient on their side, tilt the head back to maintain an open airway.
  7. Prop the patient’s head on his hand if necessary to keep the head tilted and the airway open.
  8. Adjust the uppermost leg so that the hip and knee are both bent at right angles.
  9. Monitor the patient’s condition until the ambulance arrives. Be prepared to start resuscitation if necessary.
  10. If you are still awaiting help after 30 minutes, reposition the patient unless there are other injuries, such as broken bones. Roll him onto his back and put him in the recovery position from the other side.patient

If the patient is already lying on his side, you do not need to roll them onto his back before putting him in the recovery position. Instead, ensure an open airway by tilting the head back and then adjust the limbs until they are in the recovery position.

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid & CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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