How to help someone having a stroke?
If you’re concerned that someone is experiencing a stroke, look out for these signs:
Face – has their mouth drooped?
Arms – can they lift both arms?
Speech – Is their speech slurred and can they understand you?
Time Is critical – act now.
First, and most importantly, call triple zero and stay calm. Do not drive to the hospital yourself, as first-responders can start the life-saving treatment on arrival, as well as selecting the best hospital for the person’s condition. Meanwhile, here’s what you can do to help someone with stroke:
- Ensure the person displaying symptoms is in a safe, warm and comfortable position, ideally with their head slightly elevated. If you suspect loss of capacity in their limbs, it’s best to avoid moving them
- Loosen any tight or restrictive clothing and ensure they’re breathing. If they’re not, perform CPR
- Ensure airways are clear
- Do not give them any food or drink
- Never administer any medication
- Monitor their condition carefully, noting the time their symptoms first became apparent, what those symptoms were, as well as any injuries sustained or changes observed in the interim
- Do not let them fall asleep
- If they’re unconscious, put them in the recovery position.
Stroke emergency management
Clot-busting medications can stop, and even reverse, symptoms. They must be administered — only by a health care professional — within 4.5 – 9 hours.
Some patients, experiencing an ischemic stroke, may also be considered for surgical clot removal. But this must be administered within 24 hours of symptom onset.
That’s why it’s so important to provide accurate information to clinicians regarding when symptoms first emerged. In all cases, the earlier the treatment, the greater the chance of a positive outcome.
Stroke emergency protocols
Australia’s Stroke Foundation has developed Clinical Guidelines for Stroke Management, as approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), for best-practice in managing stroke and transient ischaemic attack (TIA) in adults.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has also established the Acute Stroke Clinical Care Standard, highlighting key aspects of care for acute stroke.
For each, the importance of early assessment and time-critical therapy is emphasised.
Getting support after stroke
If someone you know has experienced a stroke, they may need additional support at home. You can connect with independent support workers through Mable who can provide different support services, such as personal care, social support and domestic assistance, nursing care, support with being physically active and exercising, and much more, to support you to live independently in your home.