October 7, 2022

Seizure First Aid for People with Epilepsy: Opinions and Knowledge of Caregivers and Healthcare Professionals

Abstract found on PubMed 

Objective: We investigated the opinions and knowledge of the caregivers of people with epilepsy (PWE) and the related healthcare professionals (i.e., nurses and physicians) in Iran about first aid measures for helping a person experiencing a seizure.

Methods: In this exploratory and descriptive study, we surveyed the caregivers of all PWE admitted to the epilepsy monitoring unit at Namazi Hospital, Shiraz, Iran, in May 2022. We also surveyed all the nurses at this hospital. A similar survey was distributed in the WhatsApp groups of the neurology, pediatrics, internal medicine, family physician, psychiatry, and neurosurgery physicians working at places affiliated with Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

Results: In total, 583 nurses, 70 physicians, and 133 caregivers participated in this study. On most questions, more caregivers provided inappropriate responses than nurses and physicians (e.g., not timing the seizure; not loosening the clothes around the neck; not rolling the patient onto the side if unconscious). On two questions, more caregivers provided appropriate responses than nurses and physicians (i.e., not putting something into the mouth; not always calling for emergency medical services).

Conclusion: While some actions may help prevent or reduce the chance of harmful consequences of epileptic seizures, many caregivers of PWE and healthcare professionals do not apply appropriate measures to help a patient experiencing a seizure. The scientific community should develop standardized seizure first aid training programs for the general public and healthcare professionals alike.