Stroke Training and Awareness Resources (STARs)


Mr MacDonald has had a stroke

He was previously independent and active. He now has a weakness in his left arm and leg. His sitting and standing balance is affected. Mr MacDonald has limited insight into his difficulties.

In addition to this he has visual problems.

Mr MacDonald tells you he is going to get up and go to the toilet. What do you do? (Click on one of the options given below).

Don’t ignore him – This is not an appropriate choice because he may attempt to walk to the toilet without help. Stroke may make the person unaware of any of their difficulties and limitations. They may put themselves at risk without realising it. We need to consider that poor safety awareness following a stroke may increase the risk of injury.

Don’t allow him to go on his own – Mr MacDonald falls and injures himself. You later hear that he has fractured his leg and is very poorly. Mr MacDonald was unaware that he could not walk unaided. So when he got up and attempted to walk he fell to the floor. We must consider that as a result of his stroke he had little insight into his limb weakness and inability to walk. We must consider that poor balance, leg weakness and loss of co-ordination can affect the person’s ability to move.

Don’t immediately assist him to the toilet – Before you get there his legs give way. In your attempt to help him, you feel a pain in your back and he falls to the floor and injures himself. Giving assistance may seem like the right approach. However, if you attempt to help people without knowing what factors are affecting their mobility, and the type of help that they might need, you risk injury to the person and/or yourself. You may need another person, or special equipment to move people safely following stroke. You should ensure that you are adequately trained in appropriate moving and handling techniques.

Establish Mr MacDonald’s ability before doing anything. This is the best course of action. Appropriate knowledge about Mr MacDonald’s capabilities will allow you to move him safely and not cause injury to either him or yourself. This information might be available from:

  • The person’s Care Plan
  • The person’s carer
  • Client held records
  • Another member of the team with more knowledge of the person.

Don’t just ask Mr MacDonald if he is able. You ask Mr MacDonald who says he just needs someone close by. As he gets up his legs give way and he falls to the floor. Remember that although some individual’s may give you accurate information, Mr MacDonald has limited insight and therefore poor safety awareness.

Page last reviewed: 21 Jan 2020