A person demonstrating first aid training on another person, who is lying down on the floor on their side.

Dealing with someone having a stroke at work

According to a recent report by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), every year more than 100,000 people suffer strokes in Britain alone.

Of those 100,000, 38,000 don’t make it, which makes strokes a major cause of death and disability in the UK. Across the world, the figures are even more scary, with one in four adults over 25 likely to have a stroke in their lifetime.

With those figures in mind, if someone in your office is having a stroke – or you think they’re having a stroke – you need to know exactly what to do.

What is a stroke, exactly?

According to the NHS, a stroke is a “serious life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.”

Our brains – which control our bodies – rely on blood in order to keep functioning, and if they are deprived of blood, then their cells start to die, leading to permanent brain injury, disability and even death.

Why might the blood supply to our brains be cut off? There are two main causes.

One, the most common, is when our blood begins to unexpectedly clot. This is the cause of more than 80% of all strokes in the UK.

Another, less common, cause is the bursting of a blood vessel which supplies the brain.

Mini-strokes, meanwhile, stem from the blood supply to the brain being temporarily interrupted. Although not fatal in themselves, mini-strokes need to be taken very seriously as they can often be a warning sign that a “full” stroke is around the corner.


How do I tell if someone is having a stroke at work?

Like many serious medical conditions, strokes vary from one person to another, but there is a way to quickly identify whether or not someone is likely to be having a stroke.

While all are different, attempting to decide quickly if a work colleague may be having a stroke is still of vital importance.

The three areas to focus on, identified by the NHS, are as follows:

Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.

Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.

Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.


What do I do if I suspect someone is having a stroke at work?

If you suspect that someone in your office is having a stroke, call 999 straight away. There really is no time to lose – the first few hours are vital in terms of treating the stroke and attempting to prevent any permanent damage.

While you are waiting for the ambulance to arrive, ensure you or someone else stays with the person in question, and keeps them as comfortable as possible.

Should there be a delay in the arrival of the ambulance and you feel you can drive the casualty safely to a hospital which has a stroke unit, then do – but only if you feel comfortable doing so.


Am I likely to have a stroke at work?

Are you a big drinker?

If you answer “No, I only have a couple of glasses of wine every night” or “No, I just like two or three beers to wind down after work in the week” then you are quite a big drinker. Sorry.

(If you want to check whether you drink too much, you might find this calculator useful.)

And while drinking too much might not make you certain to have a stroke, there’s a reason why “excessive alcohol intake” is named by the NHS as one of its chief causes of  strokes in the UK.

If you’re also a smoker, have high blood pressure, struggle with obesity or high cholesterol or don’t exercise, then you’re also on the “more likely” list when it comes to having a stroke.


Does Authentic Training offer courses in dealing with strokes?

Yes and no.

The best advice we can give you for dealing with someone having a stroke – or someone you suspect is having a stroke – is to dial 999 immediately and stay with them until the ambulance arrives. They need to be at a stroke unit, quickly.

However, we do offer a First Aid in the Workplace course which covers dealing with strokes, which will help you or your staff both recognise the symptoms of a stroke and feel more comfortable in dealing with a potential victim should the ambulance be unavoidably delayed.


So which first aid courses does Authentic Training offer?

At present, we run two First Aid in the Workplace courses.

Our main First Aid at Work course – spanning three days –  has been designed especially for companies who need to meet their HSE Health and Safety requirements and covers strokes alongside dealing with heart attacks, choking, epilepsy, anaphylaxis, sprains, strains and dislocations and many more.

Costing just £185 per person, we also large discounts for group bookings on this course and can deliver it at your premises or at our training rooms in Liverpool.

There’s more information about it here – including details of how to book on.

Alongside our three-day flagship EFAW course, we also provide a one-day L3 award in Emergency First Aid at Work, also known as the Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work (RQF).

The one-day course does not cover strokes but gives you the basic training required for the position of First Aider in your organisation. It costs just £95 per person and there’s even more information about it here – including how to book on.

We offer large discounts on group bookings of up to 10 learners at one business location, charging just £499 at your office or £599 at our centre in Knowsley.


If you’ve got more questions, we’re here to help.

We’d love to talk to you about either of our Emergency First Aid at Work courses.

To give us a call and speak to one of our expert trainers, ring 0151 546 5151 and ask for John or Kris.

Alternatively, send us an email at info@authentictraining.co.uk and we’ll get back in touch as soon as we can.

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