What to Do If Someone Suffers a Sudden Stroke - A Guide for Family Members

Stroke Signs

A stroke is a medical emergency that can happen unexpectedly, and it's crucial for family members to know how to respond effectively when a loved one experiences a sudden stroke. In addition to recognizing the signs and calling for professional help, there are essential actions that family members can take to support the stroke victim during this critical time. In this blog post, we'll provide guidance on what to do and highlight the importance of being prepared to act swiftly.

Recognizing the Signs of a Stroke

The first crucial step is recognizing the signs of a stroke. Familiarize yourself with the acronym FAST:

  • F (Face):

    Check if the person's face droops on one side or if they have difficulty smiling.
  • A (Arms):

    Ask the person to raise both arms. If one arm drifts downward or they can't raise one arm, it may be a sign.
  • S (Speech):

    Listen to their speech. Is it slurred or incoherent? Ask them to repeat a simple sentence.
  • T (Time):

    Time is of the essence. If you observe any of these signs, it's time to call for help immediately.

Calling 911

The first and most critical action is to call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Ensure that professional medical assistance is on its way. Provide the dispatcher with all relevant information about the person's condition, including their age, gender, and the time when symptoms were first noticed. Quick action can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Offer Comfort and Reassurance

While waiting for professional help to arrive, family members can offer comfort and reassurance to the stroke victim. Encourage them to lie down with their head slightly elevated, if possible. Stay by their side and provide emotional support.

Do Not Offer Food or Medication

It's essential to refrain from giving the person anything to eat or drink, including medication. Stroke victims may have difficulty swallowing, and providing food or liquid could lead to choking. Wait for medical professionals to assess their condition and provide appropriate treatment.

Monitor Vital Signs

Family members can monitor the stroke victim's vital signs, such as breathing and pulse, while waiting for medical assistance. If the person becomes unconscious and you are trained in CPR, be prepared to perform CPR if necessary.

Do Not Transport to the Hospital

In most cases, it's not advisable for family members to transport a stroke victim to the hospital in a private vehicle. Emergency medical services (EMS) are equipped to provide critical care during transit and can communicate with the hospital to prepare for the patient's arrival.

CPR Training

CPR Training

While CPR is not typically administered for strokes, it is an essential life-saving skill to have in case of other emergencies, such as cardiac arrest. Family members are encouraged to undergo CPR training to be prepared for any life-threatening situation.


When a family member experiences a sudden stroke, quick and effective action can significantly impact their outcome. Recognizing the signs, calling 911, offering comfort and reassurance, and not providing food or medication are crucial steps to take during a stroke emergency. Additionally, being trained in CPR can be a valuable skill for any family member. By taking these actions and staying calm under pressure, family members can play a vital role in supporting their loved one's recovery.