Epilepsy & Seizure Alarms

When you live alone (or spend periods of time at home alone), and you have epilepsy, then there is always the fear that a seizure can strike and there is no one there to help.

That fear is also a constant for your family and friends, who worry about you when you are alone. The most common worry is your loved ones do not want you to have a seizure alone, and that they do not want to you come out of that seizure by yourself either. This can place significant strain on both the sufferer and their loved ones, and result in periods of constant worry and stress for both parties.

Many preventative measures can be taken around the home to reduce the risk of injury during an epileptic seizure however there is always a risk of the following injuries:

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  • Cuts and bruises
  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Drowning

Epilepsy sufferers can reduce the risk of injury at home through a number of things including:

  • Having soft carpeting throughout the home, soft lino in the kitchen and bathroom
  • Having guards on all fires and heaters
  • Cover sharp edges e.g. corners of tables
  • Make sure all glass is toughened safety glass
  • Use cordless electrical equipment where possible to avoid tripping e.g. kettle, iron…
  • Shower rather than bath
  • Where you do choose to bath only have a shallow bath

Advances in technology mean that in addition to being able to prevent injury during an epileptic seizure, sufferers are now able to alert family, friends and carers that they have had an seizure so that they can come to the sufferers home as soon as possible and check that they are ok. There are two main types of epilepsy alarm, or seizure alarms, on the market. The first type senses seizures during the daytime using ‘fall alert’ technology, the second type senses ‘epileptic fits’ during the night using bed sensors.

Epilepsy Fall Alarms: Epilepsy fall alarms are sensors that will automatically raise the alarm in the event that the wearer has a sudden fall. These alarm triggers can be worn as either neck pendants, on a belt-clip or on broach/clothing clip. Using sensors that measure air pressure and air speed, when the wearer has a fall the alarm trigger automatically sends a signal to the alarm base unit that will then dial for help. There is often a fall following a seizure so fall sensors can be a great way of raising the alarm.

Epilepsy Bed Sensors: Epilepsy bed sensors are sensors that are placed under the person with epilepsy’s mattress and monitors their movement while they sleep for tonic-clonic seizures.­­ In many cases a carer for someone with epilepsy will undertake regular checks throughout the night, which is labour intensive for paid carers and means broken sleep for informal carers. The person affected may also find these checks intrusive and undignified. An epilepsy sensor will automatically raise an alert with a carer if it detects a seizure, enabling appropriate care be provided quickly, without the need for manual checks.

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