32 Tips for caring for someone with epilepsy
As a caregiver caring for someone with epilepsy, you must seiz(ure) the day and ensure that you’re doing absolutely everything that you can to provide that person – who may be a child or an adult – with the means to lead a quality life, as protect them in case of a seizure. As one of the best medical supplies stores online we are committed to informing and helping you through this or any other difficult caregiving situation.
Tips for caring for a child with epilepsy
- Communication. Epilepsy can be quite a scary condition for a child to experience, but that doesn’t mean you should hide the facts from them. On the contrary, be completely honest with them about the nature of the disease. Also, encourage them to openly express their feelings and ask any questions. Opening lines of communications with teachers, neighbors, coaches, and other people that the child is often around is equally important to guarantee that the child will be taken care of even when you’re not there.
- Choose wisely. In order to provide a child with epilepsy with the best possible care, you need to resort to the appropriate specialist. In this case, that would be a neurologist or an epileptologist – and not just the first one you chance upon, either. Research and compare the different alternatives available before settling on one.
- Set the child up for success. A seizure can be a very disrupting occurrence, but the time in between them may be spend directing the child toward activities that play to his or her strengths, be they physical, mental, or both. A child with epilepsy needs and deserves responsibilities that call for decision-making. This way, you will be enabling the child to take care of themselves when you no longer can.
- Be always ready. Do not let a seizure take you by surprise. Devise a plan before a seizure takes place - but more on what to do in case of a seizure later.
Tips for caring for an adult with epilepsy
- Talk about it. Once again, communication key. To the person with epilepsy – and perhaps to the caregiver too –, the subject might be uncomfortable and even embarrassing. You may have to pry it out of them, but simply talking about the condition can itself be a relief, emotionally-wise.
- Become an expert. Learn as much as possibly can about epilepsy in general and about seizures in particular. Search for information on authoritative health websites and books, ask your doctor, and more importantly, the person that you care for – who is your primary, first hand source for what epilepsy really is like.
- Become an advocate. Remain positive through the entire ordeal. Celebrate milestones and achievements. Educate your friends and relatives on the topic of epilepsy. And most of all, be a constant source of support for your loved one.
- Tag along to medical appointments. Speaking of support, doctor’s appointments are some of the instances where support is most needed. Moreover, you can take the opportunity to fulfill the previous two tips; you can learn a lot about the condition and be an advocate – and secretary – to your loved one by asking question on his or her behalf, as well as take notes and remember details. Additionally, you can complete the picture of the patient’s experience with your witness account of their seizures.
- Keep a list of contacts. Carry the phone numbers of doctors, hospitals, and secondary caregivers with you at all times.
- Have the person wear a medical bracelet with emergency information (this applies to children too).
First aid tips in case of a seizure
Generalized tonic-clonic seizure (grand mal)
Keep in mind that in this type of seizure the patient may cry out, fall, shake, jerk, or become unaware of what’s going on around them.
- Ease the person to the floor.
- Turn them gently onto one side to help them breathe.
- Clear the surrounding area of hard or sharp objects to prevent injury.
- Place something soft and flat under the person’s head.
- Loosen ties or any constrain around the neck.
- Time the seizure.
- Call 911 if it lasts longer than 5 minutes.
Any type of seizure
- Stay with your loved one until the seizure is over and they are fully awake.
- Afterward, help them to sit in a safe place.
- Concisely tell them what happened once they are alter and able to communicate.
- Speak calmly and comfort the person.
- Keep yourself and others who may be present calm as well.
What not to do
- Hold the person down.
- Try to stop their movements.
- Put anything in their mouths. A person who is having a seizure cannot swallow their tongue.
- Give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- Offer water or food until they are completely alert.
When to call 911
- The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
- The person has another seizure soon after the first.
- The person is hurt during the seizure.
- The seizure takes place in water.
- The person has another condition; e.g., diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy.