What to do while you wait for an ambulance
Stroke is a medical emergency. If you or someone else shows the signs of stroke, call 000 immediately.
While you are waiting for the ambulance to arrive:
- If the person is conscious, lay them down on their side with their head slightly raised and supported.
- Do not give them anything to eat or drink.
- Loosen any restrictive clothing that could cause breathing difficulties.
- If weakness is obvious in any limb, support it and avoid pulling on it when moving the person.
- If they are unconscious, check their breathing and pulse and put them on their side. If they do not have a pulse or are not breathing, start CPR straight away.
- If you are unsure how to perform CPR, the ambulance call taker will give instructions over the phone.
A number of questions are asked while you wait for the paramedics to arrive.
Here is an emergency dialogue used in New South Wales, provided by the Ambulance Service of NSW.
- Are they completely awake?
- Are they breathing normally?
- Are they able to talk normally?
- Tell me why you think it’s a stroke
- When was the last time they were acting normally?
- Have they ever had a stroke before?
Post-dispatch instructions: “I’m organising the paramedics to help you. Stay on the line and I’ll tell you exactly what to do next.