If you arrive at a scene and someone has injured their wrist or their forearm, then it may be a good idea to place an arm sling on the patient. Even breaks around the shoulder may require an arm sling, since you will need to stabilise and immobilise the arm so that further damage is not caused. When in doubt, it is always better to keep the arm in the sling so that further damage to the bones or nerves is not caused, and then once the arm is looked over by a medical professional, the decision can be made as to whether or not it can be removed.
First of all, you will need to use a triangular bandage in order to create an arm sling, so make sure that you have one available. You should take the triangular bandage and open it, so that it spreads across the person’s body vertically. It should be folded in half just once, with the point of the triangle pointed towards the elbow, on the side of the body with the injured arm.
Positioning the Injured Arm
Carefully position the injured arm on the person so that it is kept to the front of the body with the bend at the elbow. The forearm of the injured arm should be slightly higher than the horizontal axis of the body. Be very gentle while doing this and try to move the arm as slowly as possible. Depending on the type of injury, just moving the arm at all may aggravate it, causing the injured person a great deal of pain. While you do need to get it into position to stop future pain, moving slowly can help eliminate some of the pain associated with getting the arm into the right place.
Once the arm is in position, then you can tie the bandage’s top end, by taking the end and looping it up behind the neck of the person. You can then tie the ends, taking care to place the knot on the side of their neck that is opposite the sling. At this point, you should check to make sure that the arm is in a comfortable position, and that the person is not in pain. If this is the case, then take the point of the bandage that was near the elbow, and pin or tape it securely, tucked into the sling to stop the arm from falling out the back of the sling.
For further information on First Aid training please contact us