First Aid Acronyms – AVPU

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First Aid is an extremely valuable skill. It allows you to assist anyone suffering from either a minor or serious illness or injury, with care provided to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, or to promote recovery.

Accidents can occur at any moment and we can never predict when someone is going to sustain an injury or become ill. However, we can educate and prepare ourselves so that we can confidently step forward and offer support to injured casualties if necessary.

What Does AVPU Stand For?

The first aid acronym AVPU is used by first aiders as a consciousness test. It can be repeated over time to see if the patient is becoming more or less conscious. It is a much simpler scale to remember than the Glasgow coma scale.


It is useful to determine if the patient is moving as you approach them. Natural movement is a sign that the patient is at least breathing. If the answer is no then proceed to the next stage.


Does the patient respond to your voice or vocal commands? This could be through eyes, which open when you speak to them or by voice which may only be as little as a grunt.


If the patient does not respond to your voice, will they respond to pain? Recognised methods include pinching the ear or pressing into the bed of the fingernail. A patient who is fully conscious will locate the pain and push it away. A patient who is not alert or responding to vocal commands may only manifest an involuntary extension of a limb. Ensure you perform pain stimulus with caution.


The patient is classed as unresponsive if they do not give any eye, vocal or motor response to voice or pain. An unconscious patient is serious and you should place the patient into the recovery position to manage their airway and dial 999 immediately.

Get In Touch

Interested in undertaking one of our First Aid Courses in Wirral? Call us today on 0151 343 0588 to learn more. Alternatively, you can email us at [email protected] and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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