If you’re considering a career as a caregiver or an in-home nurse, it’s important to know what to do when someone has a seizure. Home health care agencies look for these qualities in new hires, and it may be a requirement for a home care job. A seizure is a frightening experience for all parties, but with calmness, professionalism, and the right know-how, you can improve patient outcomes.
4 Steps to Seizure Assistance
Identifying the type of seizure is key to providing the most effective response. During a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, the person will become unresponsive and collapse. Their muscles will clench and jerk. In a focal onset seizure, the person will remain aware of what’s happening. There are two subcategories of this type: simple and complex. During the former, the patient may experience facial twitching and unusual sensations, such as altered taste. During the latter, the person may simply appear disoriented. If the patient has had seizures in the past, they may have a response plan in place that will note their triggers, warning signs, and typical manifestations, so review this information as soon as you assume responsibility for their care.
During a tonic-clonic seizure, make sure the patient is able to breathe. Loosen clothing around their neck and don’t put any objects in their mouths. Position them on their left side on the floor, level ground, or other flat surface from which they can’t fall. Don't use restraints, as this can injure the patient. For any kind of seizure, protect yourself and others by removing any nearby sharp or hard objects, such as glass or furniture. Use a shirt or coat to cushion their head so it won’t hit the ground while they are shaking.
It will be helpful to future treatment to observe seizure characteristics and note the length of seizure, the direction of head, and eye and body movements. You should inform emergency responders, your home care agency, or doctors on staff of what you observed. Stay calm throughout the experience and speak to the patient in soothing tones.
Call for help as soon as you’re able. If the seizures are repeated or clustered, the patient may need rescue medicines. Seizures cannot be stopped once they’ve started, but any information about an episode you can provide can be helpful in the future. The incident should be recorded in a log or action plan.
Practice your nursing skills and gain valuable experience by contacting J&D Ultracare in Suffern, NY. This nursing agency provides people in Westchester County, Orange County, Monroe, and White Plains, NY, with the resources they need for rewarding careers. To learn more about their programs and career opportunities in the home care profession, visit their website or call (845) 357-4500.