Continuing Professional Development: Spine immobilisation: professional and lay perspectives

May 2012

OverviewFor fifty years the liberal use of precautionary spine immobilisation for trauma patients has gone largely unquestioned. Now though some researchers and practitioners are advocating a more selective approach, with some paramedics already empowered to clear spines at the scene of accidents. This Continuing Professional Development (CPD) module approaches pre-hospital spine immobilisation from two different, but related, perspectives. Firstly the module describes the basic anatomy and pathophysiology of cervical spine injury, explores the history of spine immobilisation, limited evidence base behind it and current professional practice. Secondly the module explores how lay members of the public, who are often the first to arrive at the scene of an accident, think about and manage potential spinal injury. Specifically asking whether some members of the public may erroneously prioritise spine immobilisation at the expense of other life-saving interventions.Learning OutcomesAfter completing this module you will:• Have revised the anatomy and pathophysiology of cervical spinal injury• Understand the historical development of spine immobilisation• Appreciate the limited evidence base behind spine immobilisation• Have revised current professional practice• Have learnt how lay members of the public may think about and manage cervical spinal injury patients

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