Program Spotlight: DAN Neurological Assessment Course






Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke, and every three minutes and 45 seconds someone in the U.S. dies from a stroke. A leading cause of long-term disability, stroke was the second-leading cause of death globally in 2015. Strokes can cause severe neurological damage, but fast recognition and activation of emergency medical services (EMS) can lead to prompt administration of advanced medical care, which greatly decreases the likelihood of disability and further injury. The same holds true for other neurological injuries, such as those that result from trauma or decompression illness (DCI).

DAN® developed the Neurological Assessment course to help save lives by providing the knowledge and skills to recognize and respond to conditions that cause severe neurological damage. In this course, providers learn how to respond to conditions that have neurological implications, such as stroke and neurological decompression sickness (DCS), by performing an effective neurological examination and rapidly activating EMS. The course, which has no prerequisites, is useful training for any lay provider and perfectly complements DAN's Basic Life Support: CPR and First Aid course. Its content is also included in DAN's Diving First Aid for Professional Divers course. With the convenient eLearning platform, students can learn at their own pace from anywhere with internet access.

After getting an overview of the nervous system, students will learn about the different kinds of strokes and how to recognize their signs and symptoms. The course then shifts focus to neurological injuries unique to divers, breaking down DCI into its main components, explaining the differences between DCS and arterial gas embolism (AGE) and discussing how these conditions can present neurological symptoms. The knowledge portion of the course concludes by outlining a neurological assessment.

Upon completion of all online modules, students will learn skills such as how to perform a neurological examination, interview a person to obtain a history and use proper techniques to check vital signs. They also learn how to assess mental function, cranial nerve function, motor function, coordination and balance. After completing a final assessment — typically a written exam — to verify their understanding of key concepts, students receive a course completion card that is valid for two years after the approval date.

"Neurological injuries can present subtly, especially with dive injuries such as DCI," said Patty Seery, DAN's director of training. "Prudent, proper and timely responses can save lives. Given the prevalence and detrimental nature of strokes, it's appropriate to include this course in your first-aid curriculum."

Sign up for a Neurological Assessment course today. Visit DAN.org/Training to find a DAN Instructor near you.

© Alert Diver — Q1 Winter 2019