Some people with epilepsy find it helpful to consider safety aids or equipment that might help them with day-to-day life. For example, an alarm that can alert family or friends when someone has a seizure, or a safety pillow if they have seizures when they are sleeping.
Assessing your safety needs
Epilepsy can affect people differently. If your seizures are controlled by treatment, your safety may not be affected. But if you continue to have seizures, safety may be an issue for you. You might find it helpful to complete a risk assessment to help you to identify any possible risk when doing an activity, and provide some practical ideas to make an activity safer.
You can also ask your local social services for a ‘needs assessment’, which looks at your safety at home. Needs assessment are usually carried out by an occupational therapist (OT) who will visit you at home. This might identify the need for support or safety equipment such as an alarm.
Alarm systems may be available through housing associations or social services departments, and are sometimes called community alarms, ‘Lifeline’ or Telecare systems. Charges for community alarms vary from one authority to another, and also vary according to the service provided.
Some equipment designed specifically to help people with disabilities does not include VAT. For example, you may not need to pay VAT on a seizure alarm system if you say it is for someone with epilepsy.
Bed seizure alarms, fall call alarms and personal alarms
There are different types of alarm for different types of seizure. Some are set off when someone falls in a seizure or has a convulsive seizure in bed. Others can be set off by the person themselves if they feel a seizure coming on.
The charity Disabled Living Foundation provide independent advice and supplier information for bed seizure alarms, ‘fall call’ and personal alarm systems, including devices that use global positioning satellites (GPS) or mobile phone technology to locate a person.
The following organisations offer free bed seizure alarms for children with uncontrolled epilepsy.
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The Daisy Garland
01803 847 999
There may be a waiting list for alarms.
Muir Maxwell Trust
0131 273 5256
There may be a waiting list for alarms, but enquiries are welcome as funding for an alarm may be available depending on where you live.
Safety helmets (sometimes referred to as protective headgear)
Various sizes, designs and additional features available. Some designs can be made to measure.
Specialised protective helmets in two designs, tailored to individuals’ needs. Various sizes and additional protectors are available.
Produces a range of stock and custom-made skull protectors and protective helmets for adults and children.
Protective hats for infants, designed to absorb and reduce the impact from falls. Thudguard Comfy Caps also available for older children and adults. Various designs available, made to measure.
Safety pillows have small holes in so that someone may be able to breathe through them more easily if they are lying face down during a seizure.
Safety pillows. Extra covers available.
Seizure Alert dogs
A charity that trains ‘Seizure Alert dogs’. Certain criteria need to be met to have a support dog. Pet dogs cannot be trained as Seizure Alert dogs.
An independent consumer research charity providing free and independent reports on products and services for older and disabled people.
UK charity providing advice and information on alarms, safety and daily living aids and suppliers.