Caring for someone with epilepsy

5th July 2018

A carer isn’t necessarily someone who works as in healthcare and gets paid. Quite often it’s a family member, partner or friend who assumes the responsibility of caring for a person with epilepsy. It can be a significant responsibility and is often exhausting for those who are taking care of a loved one. 1 in 10 people in the UK are classed as carers, and not all of these are adults, there are many young carers under the age of 18 who take responsibility for their parents.

Epilepsy and care

Epilepsy is a broad term, that can vary to large degrees from person to person. The severity of epilepsy someone has will determine how much care they need. For some, it might be from time to time during and after infrequent seizures, but for others, it may be a more time-consuming requirement that warrants daily care. It’s important that a person receives the correct level of care for their unique needs.

What an epilepsy carer might do

The role of a carer for someone with epilepsy will vary depending on how independent the person is. It might include many or few responsibilities, such as:

  • Keeping the person safe during and after seizures
  • Calling for medical help
  • Providing first aid where necessary
  • Giving reassurance
  • Helping with daily routines, such as taking medication
  • Accompanying the person to appointments
  • Providing witnessed descriptions of seizures to healthcare professionals
  • Ensuring the environment is safe
  • Providing transport

The skills of a carer can be technical, such as assisting with specialised medical aids, equipment and medication. They can also be emotional, providing support and companionship (a buddy). It may also be necessary for you to liaise with the service users wider healthcare team of professionals and be part of the care team yourself.

Looking after yourself

Many carers also have other commitments, such as their own family, work or social life. Juggling all of these things can become stressful, which is why it’s important to also look after yourself. It’s essential that you take care of your own needs in order to provide effective care to a person with epilepsy. Guilt, resentment, anger and anxiety are all possibly felt by carers, it’s easy to let your own needs take a back seat as you selflessly make the person in your care’s needs a priority.

Ensure that you have time for yourself to take care of your affairs, this will make you a much more effective carer, which is in the interests of everyone.

Get help from National Epilepsy Training

We provide a number of training courses for family members, partners and friends to help you become a more effective carer and provide you with the tools and knowledge you need. Call us on 01706 373075 or email admin@nationalepilepsytraining.co.uk for more information on how we can help.