Assessment and care of people with COVID-19

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Updated Guidance November 2021

Please note: The ARHAI Scotland COVID-19 Addenda Guidance is changing on Monday 29 November 2021.

The guidance will be replaced by the ‘Winter 21/22 Winter Respiratory Infections in Health and Care Settings Infection Prevention and Control Addendum’ and will be found here:

Our COVID-19 learning materials for staff working in health and social care are currently under review and are being updated in line with the new guidance.

Skills bundles

Skills bundles reliably enhance your practice. This multi-professional bundle of skills will support you as a health care or social practitioner working in any setting with  patients with suspected COVID-19 and has been designed to support:

  • any healthcare practitioner working in the NHS or Social Care in Scotland
  • practitioners returning to the workplace as part of their induction
  • healthcare students who have been recruited

The Assessment and Management skills bundle will help to ensure you minimise your exposure and maximise your protection and can be linked to the more detailed resources outlined below. Additional skills bundles on Self-protection and Protecting your workplace can be found in the Protecting yourself and your workplace environment section.

Note: You will need to login with your Turas account to view the modules below:

  • COVID-19 : Helping you in your role : assessment and management [Unit B]

This account is the same as your Turas Appraisal account. If you do not have an account then please register for a free Turas account.


Resources to assist with testing.

Health Protection Scotland, with support from stakeholders, has produced a short video clip to support colleagues required to obtain an upper respiratory tract diagnostic sample. This resource describes the techniques involved in obtaining an upper respiratory tract COVID-19 diagnostic sample (third video on the page).

HPS video clip: This is a guidance video which outlines the correct way to package samples from suspected COVID-19 patients for Category B transport, in line with UN3373 requirements. It is part of the initial investigation of possible cases collection.


Recognition and assessment of the acutely unwell / deteriorating adult

This cluster of resources supports the introduction and orientation of staff who will be required to care for acutely unwell people with respiratory distress.

The ABCDE Approach

The Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, Exposure/Examination (ABCDE) approach is a systematic approach to the immediate assessment and treatment of critically ill or injured patients.

This resource introduces the rationale for a standardised approach to assessment in the acutely unwell person, applying an ABCDE approach

This short video from Resuscitation UK demonstrates a standardised ABCDE approach to assessment of the acutely unwell person (9 minutes)

Resuscitation Council (UK) guidelines on the ABCDE approach to assessment of the acutely unwell person.

Resuscitation Council (UK) guidelines on the prevention of cardiac arrest in the acutely unwell person and resuscitation decision making.

NICE guideline

COVID-19 rapid guideline: critical care in adults [NG159]

The purpose of this guideline is to maximise the safety of patients who need critical care during the COVID-19 pandemic, while protecting staff from infection.

National Early Warning Score (NEWS)2

The NEWS is based on a simple aggregate scoring system in which a score is allocated to physiological measurements, already recorded in routine practice, when patients present to, or are being monitored in hospital. Six simple physiological parameters form the basis of the scoring system: 

  1. respiration rate 
  2. oxygen saturation 
  3. systolic blood pressure 
  4. pulse rate 
  5. level of consciousness or new confusion
  6. temperature. 

See guidance from the Royal College of Physicians.

National Early Warning Score (NEWS) 2 : charts in PDF format from Royal College of Physicians.

NEWS eLearning module

Note: You will need to sign in with your Turas account in order to view and access the eLearning module below.

Emergency interventions

Always refer to the Resuscitation Council (UK) for COVID-19 specific guidance on resuscitation

Advice on adaptation of guidelines. 

Guidance from the British Medical Association, the Resuscitation Council (UK) and the Royal College of Nursing

Step by step guide to basic life support  : video (6:38 minutes)

Cardiac arrest management demonstration (in-hospital) : video (10 minutes)

This interactive 360-degree training video demonstrates a cardiac arrest (code blue) as if the doctor is leading an arrest for the first time. The doctor will ask questions during the arrest. Pause the video when you see the information bar appearing and try to answer them.

The Resuscitation Council is offering access to their Adult Resuscitation e-learning course, which teaches the theoretical knowledge for adult resuscitation in preparation for practice. You can register for free if this module would be useful to you.



Note: You will need to login with your Turas account to view the module below:

  • Airway suctioning

This account is the same as your Turas Appraisal account. If you do not have an account then please register for a free Turas account.


COVID-19 Ventilator course: learn or review mechanical ventilation

COVID-19 specific online learning resource for healthcare professionals caring for people who require mechanical ventilation. (Free course at - registration is required)

An overview of mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit


Educational Video designed for medical practitioners, describing the patient centred approach to acute NIV.

Non Invasive Ventilation: for the patient.

Introductory material for Acid Base Balance and ABG analysis. Suitable for staff new to ICU environment.

Slightly more advanced material. Parts 1 & 2 of an 8-part course (free playlist on MedCram YouTube channel or at Recommend parts 1 and 2 as introduction or refresher).

General introduction to Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

Review of ARDS and specific considerations in the context of COVID-19.

How to prone and position safely.

Note: You will need to login with your Turas account to view the modules below:

  • Arterial blood gas interpretation
  • Auscultation
  • Respiratory failure

This account is the same as your Turas Appraisal account. If you do not have an account then please register for a free Turas account.


These resources provide support for those caring for deteriorating patients. They are closely aligned with the ABCDE assessment. 

This short filmed resource provides a general overview and introduction the SEPSIS pathway.

SIGN consensus recommendations on care of deteriorating patients.

This is a scenario depicting a severe hypoglycaemic episode in a hospital setting.


Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) and Acute Assessment of the Critically Unwell Adult Treatment and Escalation (AACUTE):

SBAR is an easy to use, structured communication format that enables information to be transferred accurately between individuals. SBAR stands for Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation. This introduction shows how to use the tool, including examples of use.

SBAR bedside report demonstration for nursing students. 

Introduction to the use of NEWS2.

This slide set outlines the AACUTE COURSE- Acute Assessment of the Critically Unwell Adult Treatment and Escalation.


This University of Edinburgh and Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh learning resource is aimed at frontline clinical staff who are caring for critically ill patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes those refreshing knowledge and skills, newly qualified doctors, those who are up-skilling, and those who are returning to acute clinical services.

Includes sections on: Deteriorating Patient; Daily Practice of Critical Care; COVID-19 Specifics; Ventilation and Organ Support; Self-Care and Staff Well-Being.

  • Interactive simulation: Recognition and Care of a deteriorating person with suspected COVID-19: educational game and workbook

This Edinburgh Napier University learning resource can support the development of skills and confidence in recognising the severely ill person, initiate immediate treatment and escalate care appropriately. There are 2 learning resources available:

  1. Reading materials including a case presentation of a man presenting with COVID-19
  2. An interactive simulation game linked to the case.

Create an account on the Edinburgh Napier site. Once you have logged in, click the “COVID-19 Open Access Course” link. Click “Enrol me” at the self-enrolment prompt.

Please note that the interactive simulation game must run on Windows 10 computers. It is important to read the installation guide; you will need to download the installer and then download the game to your computer. It is recommended to tick the “Create a desktop shortcut” when installing as it will put an icon on your Desktop, making the game easily accessible.

The game should not be copied or forwarded onto any users without permission from Edinburgh Napier University.

Activity to support strong clinical decision making, which is essential in the delivery of safe, effective and person-centred care.

The 2018 revised Anaesthetic Assistant (AA) framework sets out core competencies that registered nurses preparing for the role of an AA must undertake in NHSScotland. 

This resource supports application of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act (2000) in acute general hospitals.

Prepared on behalf of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) Critical Care Specialist Group (CCSG), this document provides best practice guidance on enteral feeding in prone position.

Some aspects of COVID-19 presentation and treatment present special challenges for safely confirming nasogastric tube placement. This aide memoire gives reminders of established safety steps.

  • This document introduces critical care to practitioners new to the acute environment and patient care needs. It functions as a guide and may inform education for those introducing new staff or organising group education for the deteriorating person.

Note: You will need to login with your Turas account to view the modules below:

  • District nurse CPD : supporting the transition to the refocused district nurse role 
  • Delirium : prevention, management and support 

This account is the same as your Turas Appraisal account. If you do not have an account then please register for a free Turas account.

For the district nursing CPD resource, refer to sections on Clinical Assessment, Team Development and Managing Risk.

Please note that the assessment at the end of the following Delirium module does not currently complete. This is being investigated. You can still access the useful information within the module, but you will not be able to complete and have it appear on your Learning Record. 

COVID-19 related adverse drug reactions

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has created a Coronavirus Yellow Card reporting site which aims to collect reports of suspected medicine side-effects or incidents with equipment used to treat Coronavirus, to help understand how medicines and medical equipment work for COVID-19.