How to Help a Stroke Victim: Emergency and Long Term Steps
How can you help a stroke victim
If you find yourself in a situation where someone has suffered a stroke and is unable to speak, walk, or move as they did before, you might be wondering how to help? This article will cover how to identify the symptoms of a stroke and respond quickly. It will also provide information on what you can do immediately following the stroke as well as long term steps that can be taken to help a stroke victim.
What to Do When You Suspect a Stroke
When seconds count, your immediate help can make all the difference. If you're unsure of what's going on, use the FAST assessment- looking for facial drooping, uneven arm movement, and speech difficulties. The first thing that should be done if someone is suspected of having a stroke is to call 911. Once the ambulance has been dispatched and prior to their arrival, make sure to note the time and any symptoms that they are experiencing to share with the medical team.
What to Do Immediately Following a Stroke
If the stroke victim is conscious, have them lie down in a safe position to prevent falls and keep them as comfortable as possible. Then, keep a close eye on them and note any changes in symptoms. However, avoid giving them any food or drink. If they become unconscious, closely monitor their breathing and administer CPR if needed. If you are not trained in CPR, it is recommended to administer chest compressions only.
How to Help a Stroke Victim Long Term
If a family member or friend is recovering from a stroke, you can help boost their rehab process. Below is a list of how you can help:
- Firstly, make sure they are getting adequate rest and relaxation to prevent unnecessary stress and allow the body and brain to heal.
- Monitor them for new symptoms, difficulties, and even the onset of another stroke.
- Once they start formal rehabilitation, you can help them stay on track with their treatments.
- If they are in a rehab facility, you can visit them regularly to keep their spirits high and encourage them to participate fully in their treatment sessions.
- If they are doing rehab at a clinic, they will need help getting to their appointments and remembering to do their prescribed home exercises.
- Help them stay on top of their health by keeping up with their medications and any specialized diet recommendations.
- At home, assist them and adjust their setup (such as removing rugs and installing bars in the bathroom) as needed for safety. However, with time let them do as much as possible to encourage independence.
- Simply be there as a shoulder to lean on to help your loved one feel empowered and motivated in a difficult time.
- Finally, if you are the primary provider for someone who has experienced a stroke, don't forget to take care of yourself (and ask for help) to prevent burnout. If you are not the primary provider, maybe consider reaching out and offer to help whoever is filling that role.
You Are Essential to Recovery
Strokes are hard on both the victim and their loved ones. Rest assured knowing that being there for them during the recovery process makes all the difference in preserving their quality of life.