A few months ago Tony Bullars offered to send me one of his Guardian Monitor Night Alarms from the company ‘Alert-it’ to try for 2-3 months. Alert-it are the UK’s foremost providers of Plesiocare within Assistive Technology. They make monitors and alarms that can reduce the stress of caring for individuals and help ease the anxiety for those who are living with a condition. Alert-it provides care systems for Epilepsy, Learning Difficulties, Autism, Dementia, Incontinence and those at risk of falls.
If you have read about me before, I am sure you will understand my Epilepsy and what happens to me on a day to day basis. With daytime seizures people notice them more and I am generally safer, but when night falls, detecting a seizure became more difficult and I always went to bed anxious.
It can be tricky to diagnose nocturnal seizures because they occur during sleep, and you may not be aware of them. Also, nocturnal seizures can be confused with parasomnia, which is an umbrella term for a group of sleep disorders that include sleepwalking, teeth grinding, and restless leg syndrome. All of these thoughts added to the anxiety of my family, so we did some research on what we could do to prevent any dangers of having fits during the night. I had previously purchased a fall alarm from Alert-it a year or so ago and it saved my life. I will write about that if anyone is interested.
After contacting the company, Tony sent me a monitor, which helps to detect bed movement that is associated with epileptic seizures or spasms. Along with its movement detectors it has the additional capability to monitor shallow movements as a protection from SUDEP or Tonic or Partial type seizures.
The Bed Movement detection uses a sensitive sensor which you place under the mattress. This sensor is used to analyze the size & frequency of movement during your sleep.
An alarm is raised if the movement indicates lack of normal movement or an increase in seizure movements.
You can use a learning mode which allows the unit to record the normal movement activity overnight to establish the safe criteria, this stops the alarm going off with the slightest movement like rolling over or getting out of bed.
The Sound Sensor
The sound sensor detects sharp gasps or groans. The device doesn’t pick up background noise which is another pro, especially if you talk in your sleep or live in a noisy area.
Bed Vacation Mode
One thing I really found useful with this alarm is the ‘Bed Vacation’ mode. This can be set to give either an immediate alarm when the person leaves the bed, or only an alarm if the bed is vacant too long. This is helpful in cases where you collapse whilst going to the bathroom or fall out of bed.
Heart Rate Matters
I have an incredibly fast resting heart rate which is a common effect after, and during, a seizure. But, for me it is a daily thing, which can cause restlessness at night. If I lie on my front, my heart can literally beat through the mattress. It’s also very irregular which made it difficult to get the personalized settings set up on the monitor as every night was different.
After trying this alarm throughout the working week we did notice that the alarm was going off due to my heart and frequent movement. However, it also detects the seizures, so we have full faith in this alarm. The alarm helps us know that we have answers out there, which can help my whole family relax and feel more at ease. If it wasn’t for my irregular heartbeat we could definitely use this monitor more!
The alarm is easy to use and we liked how you can even change the volume so it doesn’t wake you up so unpleasantly!
I had a great experience in receiving this alarm. We, as a family, would recommend this product to anyone requiring a bed alarm as it puts your mind totally at rest. I am getting help with my heart rate and have got the best support. Thank you team Alert-It.
The alarm is an aid to those living with epilepsy and it is by no means a cure. This tool is not intended to replace medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. If you are having health problems or need advice please contact your doctor. You can also read full details on our policy on product reviews.
Have you ever used a seizure alarm? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments?
25 yr old monthly columnist on Living Well with Epilepsy. Full time worker of NHS England.
Emily’s Perspective is a snapshot of what life is like living with Epilepsy. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy at the age of 10.
Based in UK.