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Obtaining Consent to Give Care to Someone

Before you give care to a conscious victim, you must obtain consent or permission from the victim. 

 Consent may be given verbally or by gesture.

The first step is to introduce yourself and inform the person you are trained

in First Aid. Then ask if you may help.


If the person says "yes", great.


A person over the age of 18 can refuse treatment and care if he is alert and oriented to the surroundings.

If the person says "no", let the him know what is concerning you, and what you can do to help. 

 If the person continues to say "no", and you believe this is truly an emergency, Call 9-1-1.

Someone can stop you from giving care, but cannot stop you from making a phone call.


(If the person said "yes" initially, and changes his mind and says "no",

you must stop care. If possible and safe for you to do so, stay close by and keep talking to him; 

he may change his mind again and you can continue care.)


If the person passes out before EMS arrives, this is considered "implied consent" and you may help.


Implied consent means that permission to perform care on an unresponsive victim is assumed. 

This is based on the idea that a reasonable person would give permission to receive lifesaving first aid 

if he were able to give consent.


When caring for an older adult, keep in mind that if he is suffering

from a "disturbance in normal mental functioning" (such as dementia) he may not understand 

your request for consent.

Obtain consent from a family member or legal guardian if one is available.

When a life-threatening situation exists and a family member or guardian

is not present to give consent, you may give first aid care based on implied consent.


Getting Permission to Help Minors vs. Adults


There is a difference in getting permission if you are speaking with an adult

or a minor. In most states, a minor is under the age of 18.

In the case of a minor, you need to get Parental Consent.

You would do the same as above, but asking the parent for permission to give care instead of the child.

However, when a life-threatening situation exists and a parent or guardian

is not available, give first aid care based on implied consent.

The child may be conscious or unconscious.


Either way, make sure you Call 9-1-1.

After giving your name and location, make sue to let the dispatcher know you are with an "unaccompanied minor".