National Epilepsy Week

In recognition of National Epilepsy Week, #nationalepilepsyweek , we thought we would pull together some great information from The Foundations nursing team. Read all about how we look after epilepsy and read some of our frequently asked questions on epilepsy.

Epilepsy In The Percy Hedley Foundation

Within the Percy Hedley Foundation our team of highly skilled nurses,  education, care and residential staff are qualified to administer emergency medication to the children and people in their care following NHS seizure plan.

Every child, young person or adult in The Foundation with Epilepsy has their own personalised seizure plan which contains information on their seizures (triggers, what seizures look like) and how and these are controlled.

The Foundation also operates a `yellow bag procedure`. This yellow bag is provided to everyone who may require emergency medication and contains their medication and any care plan information.

These bags are locked and then always kept on the person at all times, in a convenient place. This ensures, not only that we keep all medication confidential but also that the medication is always quickly on hand should it be required.

Frequently Asked Questions About Epilepsy.

What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the brain and causes recurring seizures or fits. Due to an uncontrolled increase of excess electrical activity in the brain interfering with the normal functions, this causes a short interruption to the relay of messages in the brain.

What causes Epilepsy?
Epilepsy can be caused by various conditions that affect a person’s brain. Some of the known causes include:

• Stroke.
• Brain tumour.
• Brain infection from parasites (malaria, neurocysticercosis), viruses (influenza, dengue, Zika), and bacteria.
• Traumatic brain injury or head injury.
• Loss of oxygen to the brain (for example, during birth).
• Some genetic disorders (eg. Down syndrome).
• Other neurologic diseases (eg. Alzheimer’s disease).

For 2 in 3 people, the cause of epilepsy is unknown. This type of epilepsy is called cryptogenic or idiopathic.

How many people have Epilepsy?
Approximately 600,000 people in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with epilepsy, affecting people of all ages, from newborns to the elderly.

This is the equivalent of 1 in every 103 people.

Every day 87 people are diagnosed with epilepsy.

What is a seizure?
An epileptic seizure results from a sudden electrical discharge in the brain that causes changes in sensation, behaviour or consciousness.
Seizures can take many forms because the brain is responsible for such a wide range of functions. Seizure symptoms depend on where in the brain this abnormal burst of electrical activity happens.

How long do seizures last?
As a result of the electrical activity, there are many different types of seizures – most usually last from a few seconds to a few minutes and usually stop without any treatment.

Are all seizures the same?
There are 40 different types of seizures and people may have one of several different types. Approximately 60% of people have tonic clonic seizures, 20% complex partial, 12% mixed tonic clinic and partial, 3% simple partial and less than 5% absence seizures, myoclonic seizures and other types.

Are Epilepsy seizures caused by light?
Approximately 3% of people diagnosed with epilepsy are photosensitive, which means their seizures are brought on by flashing lights.

What to do if someone has an epileptic seizure?
If you see someone having a seizure or fit, there are some simple things you can do to help. You should call 999 for an ambulance if you know it’s their first seizure or it’s lasting longer than 5 minutes.

It might be scary to witness, but do not panic.

If you’re with someone having a seizure:

  • only move them if they’re in danger, such as near a busy road or hot cooker
  • cushion their head if they’re on the ground
  • loosen any tight clothing around their neck, such as a collar or tie, to aid breathing
  • turn them on to their side after their convulsions stop – read more about the recovery position
  • stay with them and talk to them calmly until they recover
  • note the time the seizure starts and finishes

If the person is in a wheelchair, put the brakes on and leave any seatbelt or harness on. Support them gently and cushion their head, but do not try to move them.

Do not put anything in their mouth, including your fingers. They should not have any food or drink until they have fully recovered.

When to call an ambulance

Call 999 and ask for an ambulance if:

  • it’s the first time someone has had a seizure
  • the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes
  • the person does not regain full consciousness, or has several seizures without regaining consciousness
  • the person is seriously injured during the seizure

People with epilepsy do not always need to go to hospital every time they have a seizure.

Some people with epilepsy wear a special bracelet or carry a card to let medical professionals and anyone witnessing a seizure know they have epilepsy.