Assessing and managing people exposed to conducted energy device (Taser) discharge
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Assessing and managing people exposed to conducted energy device (Taser) discharge

Matthew Peel Advanced clinical practitioner, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Leeds, England
Dave Tremlett Lead nurse, Partnering Health Limited, Whiteley, England

Why you should read this article
  • To enhance your awareness of the physiological effects and potential complications of exposure to Taser

  • To acknowledge recent changes to the assessment and management of people who have been ‘tasered’

  • To understand the role of nurses in post-Taser assessment and management in custodial and emergency settings

The use of conducted energy devices – better known under the brand name Taser – by police officers is subject to scrutiny. Consequently, the clinical assessment and management of people who have been exposed to Taser discharge is also subject to scrutiny. In 2021 the Conducted Energy Device Joint Working Group published a new guideline on assessment in police custody after Taser discharge. The guideline enables any appropriately trained and competent healthcare professional, including nurses, to undertake post-Taser assessments and determine the person’s fitness to be detained in police custody. This would be done in the first instance by nurses working in police custody suites, but emergency department (ED) nurses may also be involved, as people who have been ‘tasered’ may need referral to the ED. This article explains how Tasers work, their physiological effects and potential complications, and the required approaches to clinical assessment and management as outlined in the new guideline.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2022.e2125

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@nursecustody

Correspondence

mattpeel@nhs.net

Conflict of interest

The authors are members of the Conducted Energy Device Joint Working Group and have co-authored the ‘Healthcare Assessment in Police Custody after Conducted Energy Device (CED) Discharge’ guideline on which this article is based

Peel M, Tremlett D (2022) Assessing and managing people exposed to conducted energy device (Taser) discharge. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2022.e2125

Published online: 08 February 2022

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