Alert devices

Alert devices can help notify others when a seizure happens. However, learn as much as you can about alert devices and speak to your doctor before making a purchase or commencing use of one. This will help you to decide whether a particular device is suitable for your situation and needs.

SUDEP Action in the UK has developed a list of questions which can help you to research safety alert devices on offer:

  • Which seizure type or types does this monitor pick up?
  • Is this safety device suitable for my type of epilepsy?
  • How many or what percentage of seizures is this monitor likely to pick up?
  • How often does this monitor give out a false alarm?
  • Will this monitor get in the way of my day to day living?
  • What is the cost of the monitor?
  • What are the potential issues I may experience with this monitor (eg: false alarms)

Some alert devices involve ‘wearable technology’ – smart electronic devices that you wear as an accessory (like a watch). Some watch-based seizure alert devices respond to repeated shaking movements, which may indicate the person is having a seizure. This can be useful for detecting tonic-clonic seizures, as well as focal motor seizures (if there is enough movement involved). Some of the benefits of these devices include:

  • They respond to some forms of seizure activity that involve big repeated movements.
  • In the event that abnormal activity is detected, they connect with your SmartPhone to send alerts to caregivers or loved ones who can provide you with assistance.

Some of the limitations of these devices include:

  • They cannot detect all types of seizures. If your seizures do not involve big repeated movements, then the device will generally not be triggered.
  • They can cost several hundred dollars, which may not be affordable for some people.

Medical ID wristband/bracelet/card

You might consider using a medical ID wristband/bracelet/card to let people know you have epilepsy, as well as provide other useful information to assist you in an emergency. For example, if you have a seizure in a public place, people can use the contact details on the ID to get more information about you and your epilepsy. This is a source of comfort for many people with epilepsy and those who support them, who may worry about possible situations where nobody knows what to do in the event of a seizure. 

Some organisations that sell or offer medical alert bands/wallets/cards also offer a membership system, where your medical information is stored in a database, which may be accessible by emergency services and healthcare professionals in an emergency.

Other companies offer USB-based ‘dog tag’ medical IDs, where your healthcare and emergency contact details are stored locally on a small hard drive. 

Some medical alerts use near-field communication (NFC) technology, which is most commonly seen in services such as contactless payment and mobile ticketing systems, to allow third parties (such as emergency services) to access healthcare information from a wearable device.

Helmets

Helmets can be a helpful tool to assist in reducing head injuries during a seizure. The document below provides some examples of seizures available on the market as well as their pros and cons.

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