The first few days.

You may be feeling overwhelmed, scared, shocked, worried, anxious, to name a few. There will be lots of conversations with a variety of hospital professionals to discuss and decide the best treatment plan going forward. In some cases this can be fairly straightforward but in other cases, it can unfortunately be a waiting game. Doctors don't necessarily know the answers or how someone will recover. This may be more difficult if the patient is in a coma or heavily sedated.

After a few days, doctors should have some kind of idea about the severity of the stroke that the patient has suffered and will be able to have some discussion around this. Some patients may experience weakness on one side of their body, speech impairement, cognitive issues. In more severe cases, the patient may be in a coma or heavily sedated state, they may lose some or all mobility, and be unable to communicate.
This is an extremely difficult time for all involved.

What can families do?
The best advice we would give to other families would be to look after yourself and one another. When someone has a stroke, the recovery may be a long process.
If you're in hospital visiting daily, you can ask for a parking permit, which gives you a discount or potentially free parking. Each hospital has its own policies regarding this. Speak with a member of staff, they will be able to help you. 

Eat & drink plenty - You may not feel like eating or even be thinking about it but keeping yourself hydrated and eating regularly will help keep your strength up. There's alot of waiting around in hospitals, especially if your loved one is in intensive care. Take that time and use it wisely, go for a short walk, grab some food or go and  sit down and rest for a while. 

Talk - This is a tough time. Allow yourself time to talk about how you are feeling. Your feelings are valid and talking to others and sharing how you're feeling is a good way to offload. 

Rest - It is one of the hardest things to do when someone you love and care about is in hospital, but you must try and get rest. Creating a timetable for family and friends to visit is a great way to get some well deserved rest.

Group chats - This can be a great way to all keep in touch and only having to write the message once instead of updating multiple people. Sometimes you can get multiple updates in a day, so having one place to update makes it so much easier.

Talk to your loved one  Even if your loved one is in a coma or sedated, talking to them can not only be comforting for you, but if they can hear it will be comforting for them also. Play their favourite music, talk to them about your day and what's going on in the world, hold their hand, stroke their hair. 

If your loved one is not sedated, communicate and reassure them. Ask them how they are feeling and what their wishes are in regards to certain treatments available. 

If you're reading this and you have suffered a stroke, Allow yourself time to process the events that have taken place. Talk to your loved ones, or if that seems too difficult, talk to a nurse, doctor or other professional, sometimes it's easier to talk to someone you don't know. 

This is an extremely tough time and alot to take in. It's ok to feel anxious, scared, frustrated, lonely, among other things. You may not be able to explain how you're feeling, it's very overwhelming. Seek support if you feel you need to. 

Ask questions - if you have a question, ask the professionals involved in the patients care.
Write it down - take a note pad with you. It's a great way to record any questions you may have, and also having notes on what professionals have said and what has happened throughout the day is a great way to keep track of day to day events. Keep in mind, there may be some things Doctors don't have the answers to. 

Ask hospital for something in writing to say your loved one or yourself are in hospital. This is so family members can act on your behalf, which helps with finances, businesses, bills such as rent, mortgage payments etc take copies and send to all relevant agencies/companies.
Unfortunately you will feel as though your world has stopped but the rest of the the world hasn't and the quicker you can inform others, the better. 

Personal attribute
My Auntie created an 'all about gav' picture.
It gave anyone who came into contact with Gavin an idea of who he was, hobbies he had and who we all were. It was a brilliant way to start conversations and also allowed the nurses and drs to get to know Gav on a personal level. This also played a huge part in communicating with Gavin, they asked relevant questions, things he was interested in and questions they knew the answers to which helped Doctors determine the severity of Gavin's brain damage. 

I kept a journal every day for a year. Just in case Gavin was ever in a place where he wanted to know what happened. For a long time I was sure that he would recover well enough to want to know everything that happened - I felt by keeping a journal, he would be able to look at this and know what happened every day. Although Gavin never got to this stage, we find it nice to have. It reminds us of just how far he got. The milestones he reached and achieved. We were told Gavin would only ever blink but in actual fact he got so much further and we like to remind ourselves of that.