What do you mean by AVPU when descibing mental status?

Expert Answers
dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

AVPU is an acronym that stands for alert, verbal, painful, and unresponsive. Is is used to quickly assess someones neurological status. EMS personnel and emergency room staff use this frequently on someone who has neurologic compromise.

A- is the person alert and oriented, are they oriented to person, place, and time. Can they state their name? Can they tell you where they are? Can they tell you what year it is or the season?

V- is the person verbal or nonverbal. If they are verbal, is the communication appropriate or unappropriate for the situation? Do they make sense when they speak or are they mumbling or speaking about irrelevant events?

P- pain. Does the person respond to painful stimuli if they are not alert? When you pinch their arm or twist the nipple do they make any response at all?

U-unresponsive. If they are unresponsive are they moving at all or completely flaccid. Do they exhibit any purposeful movement at all? Are they having a seizure or showing any posturing?