How do epilepsy sensors work?

November 29, 2018
An epilepsy sensor can help you get a good night's sleep.

Epilepsy affects over 250,000 Australians, according to Epilepsy Action Australia. Being diagnosed with the disorder can affect individuals’ daily lives. However, with the right support and solutions, it’s possible for people to still live a full and active life.

One of the ways to help someone who’s been diagnosed with the condition is by utilising technology designed to support their independence, such as the epilepsy sensor.

With the right support, epilepsy doesn't have to get in the way of a full and active life. With the right support, epilepsy doesn’t have to get in the way of a full and active life.

What is an epilepsy sensor, and why is one needed?

An epilepsy sensor is a device designed to monitor an individual while they’re sleeping, and raise an alarm should they begin to seize. A flat sheet that lies under bed linen, the sensor itself contains no embedded wires or switches to make it undetectable to the person lying on top of it.

Along with the sensor sheet comes a control unit and a radio transmitter. This is so that, if the individual experiences a seizure, an alert can be sent out to an onsite carer to notify them that immediate assistance is needed.

Suffering a seizure while sleeping can have dangerous consequences for an individual. Without someone there to roll them on their side, or watch over them, they face risks such as:

  • Falling from their bed.
  • Losing airflow due to inhalation of vomit, or other liquids.
  • Hurting themselves by coming into contact with objects surrounding their bed.

Seizure detection ensures that a carer knows what is happening and can make sure they stay safe.

How do epilepsy sensors work?

An epilepsy sensor works on a couple of different levels to provide the best protection possible. As well as monitoring a person’s movements, their breathing is observed, as well as their heartbeat. Due to this, the sensor is able to distinguish between normal sleeping movements and an epileptic seizure, and false alarms are minimised.

Accommodating for the range of seizure types, the sensor also registers hyperventilation and partial convulsions as a seizure as well. If unusual movements continue past the pre-set delay, the alarm is raised. Depending on the individual and situation, it’s possible to set the delay anywhere between 10-20 seconds.

It's a huge relief knowing that loved ones are monitored and safe. Knowing a loved one is monitored and safe is a huge relief for individuals.

The benefits of an epilepsy sensor

Easy to install and set up, an epilepsy sensor brings peace of mind to everyone involved.

Living with epilepsy can often leave individuals feeling like they’ve lost their independence and control, due to knowing their own brains are causing the seizures. Having to have a carer or family member checking in on them at regular intervals during the night to ensure they’re safe can intensify that feeling. The lack of privacy involved at needing someone else’s help can get in the way of regaining control of their lives. An epilepsy sensor fixes this problem, by making their room their own space again, and allowing them to sleep more securely knowing that if a seizure begins someone will immediately know.

As well as being extremely thin, the epilepsy sensor doesn’t rely on skin conductance to operate, making it even easier to forget that it’s there.

Other technology to support someone living with epilepsy

The relief knowing that someone will be alerted if an individual has a seizure doesn’t have to end at daybreak. Other technology that can provide unobtrusive support includes fall pendants or a personal medical alarm, both of which can be monitored 24/7. This constant background support gives people the security they need to continue living their lives to the fullest.

If you or a loved one are living with epilepsy and would like to know more about how Tunstall can support you, reach out to the friendly team today. We can help create a connected care system based on your needs.