Understanding epilepsy

As a care worker, you may find yourself coming into contact with those suffering from epilepsy. In this case, it is always a good idea to know what type of seizure is taking place and what to do. The important thing to remember is not to panic and that as long as you are attentive to the person during the attack, all you can do is wait for it to abate, calmly waiting by their side and reassuring them.

Understanding Epilepsy
Understanding Epilepsy

Below are some of the different types of seizure with notes on how you can help:

Tonic-clonic (convulsive) seizure

When you think of epilepsy, this is most likely the seizure that you think of. The person affected will go rigid, become unconscious and usually fall to the ground, jerking uncontrollably. Their breathing may be affected which might cause them to go blue around the lips. They can even bite their tongue or lose control of their bladder or bowel.In this case, you should remove any objects nearby that may harm them, cushion their head, place them in the recovery position and stay with them until they recover. Contrary to popular belief, you should not put anything in their mouth, restrain or move them. Do not try to give them water or food or crowd them; you need to let the seizure run its course until it wears off.

Focal seizure

Often called a partial seizure, the person will lose track of what they are doing or where they are and may seem dazed and confused. Sometimes they can behave oddly, pulling at their clothing and appearing totally disoriented.

You should keep them in a safe place, away from traffic or water and stay with them until they feel better. Don’t give water or food until fully recovered and don’t expect them to know what has happened.

If any of these seizures are experienced by someone in a wheelchair, you should put on the brake and leave them in the chair, unless they have a Care Plan which states that they should be moved. Leave their seatbelt on if they have one or support them so they don’t fall onto the floor. Cushion their head and wait for them to recover.

If seizures are prolonged or breathing becomes difficult or impaired, then call for medical assistance.

Being a care worker for someone who has epilepsy can be daunting but knowing what to do helps you to be prepared. Have you have had any experience of caring for someone with epilepsy? Let us know any advice you would give on our Facebook https://facebook.com/lavorocare or Tweet at us https://twitter.com/joblavoro .

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