What to expect when calling triple zero for stroke-related symptoms
The vital first step in getting the right help for someone who is suffering from a stroke is recognising the signs of stroke and calling triple zero.
According to the National Stroke Foundation, one in four people globally will have a stroke in their lifetime.
As a triple zero call-taker, I answer these calls for help.
The first question we will ask is ‘where do you need the ambulance?’ followed by ‘okay, tell me exactly what’s happened’.
As soon as the call-taker knows where you need help and what the emergency is, help will be organised.
The call-taker will continue to ask you questions to establish what help is required. This won’t delay an emergency response but will allow us to pass the information on to the responders to get the right help to you.
The call-taker will then go through a stroke diagnostic tool, which is a set of questions designed to find out exactly what help is required.
• A question in the stroke diagnostic tool is to ask the patient to smile. We’re looking to see whether the smile is equal on both sides of their mouth to establish whether there is any facial droop.
• Another question is to ask the patient to raise two arms above their head, looking to see if both arms are raised equally. This is to establish if there is any weakness or paralysis on any side of the body.
• The final question is to ask the patient to repeat “the early bird catches the worm” and this is to see if the patient is experiencing any speech problems.
For more information about recognising the signs of a stroke, visit the National Stroke Foundation website.