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Safety At Home

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1 Safety At Home on Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:50 am

TJW

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The home is the most common place for seizure-related accidents. Activities such as bathing and cooking place the person with seizures at risk for injury. Specific adjustments in household activities and environment may create a safer home. The individual's seizure type and frequency will dictate the adjustments needed to maintain safety.

Bathrooms, which have mirrors, sinks, shower doors, bathtubs, and hard floors, can be risky for people with uncontrolled seizures. Bathroom activities are generally private matters and balancing the need for both privacy and safety is important for people with seizures. For example, a teenage girl with complex partial seizures was determined to maintain her independence and remain safe while using the bathroom. She negotiated with her parents to use an "occupied" sign instead of locking the bathroom door and to sing while showering, to reassure her parents that she was safe. She also promised her Mom to always take showers instead of baths and to check the water temperature and shower drain for function before showering. A woman who had frequent grand mal seizures maintained her independence and safety by wearing a helmet while in the bathroom and always sitting down while showering. She only showered when someone was nearby who could assist if a seizure occurred.

A few adjustments to the bathroom environment can make it safer for people with seizures.


Bathroom safety tips

  • Use nonskid strips in tub or shower
  • Use shatterproof glass for mirrors and shower doors
  • Use tub rails or grab bars
  • Use an electric razor to avoid cuts
  • Wall-to-wall carpeting reduces injuries for individuals who fall during seizure activity.
  • Hang the bathroom door so that it swings outward (into the hall or bedroom) instead of inward to allow helpers to enter the room even if the person has fallen against the door.
  • Use protective covers on faucet handles, nozzles, and the edges of countertops to help cushion falls and reduce injuries.
  • Cover the radiator or heating unit with a pad and install safety devices that adjust water temperature to avoid burns in the bathroom.
  • Electrical equipment such as hair dryers or razors should be used away from any water source.

The kitchen, with its ovens, burners, and sharp knives is another potentially hazardous area. Adjustments in methods of food preparation, cooking, and cleanup will make the kitchen safer for people with seizures. For example, a man with occasional complex partial seizures does all his food preparation with food processors and choppers instead of knives, or he purchases precut or already prepared meals. He always uses the microwave oven for cooking instead of the stove. He wears rubber gloves for cleanup and owns only unbreakable dishes.

Creating strategies to prevent injury during seizure activity at home allows people with seizures to have both safety and a sense of independence during normal activities of living.

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