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What is a seizure action plan?

What is a seizure action plan and why is it important?

A Seizure Action Plan is a personalized document that provides information on how others can respond on how to respond on behalf of a person during a seizure. This plan or document includes essential information that can help people react quickly and reduce the harm a seizure can do.

Seizure Action Plan for Adults

According to an article published in Epilepsy Behavior, the use of pediatric a seizure action plan is common, in fact they are often required by schools, however, most adults with epilepsy do not have a documented plan.

In some cases the seizure action plan that may have been in place in elementary or high school does not transition to college. In other cases when the person is diagnosed as an adult there are few scenarios where one would be required to create a formal plan.

However, having a documented plan is a good idea.

Why is it important?

A Seizure Action Plan is important because seizures can be life-threatening. In fact, when seizures last more than 5 minutes they are referred to as status epilepticus. Some complications associated with status epilepticus include: brain damage, cardiac damage, respiratory failure, hypoxia, and aspiration pneumonia. 

If you are likely to have prolonged seizures or seizure clusters, it is important to have a Seizure Action Plan that lets others know what to do in an emergency situation. For example, a Seizure Action Plan can reduce the time to action during a seizure and faster response times can reduce risk of any prolonged seizures, the need for emergency rescue medications, and the risk for seizure-associated mortality.


Why its harder for adults

It’s true that the US health system has not developed a questionnaire in Electronic Health Records systems such as EPIC. Nor has our health system integrated social work teams, nurse navigators, or health coaches into neurology practices. All of whom, it’s worth noting, could support the development of seizure action plans in adult patients with epilepsy.

Additionally, the stigma for those in their late teens to early twenties and early thirties is extremely high. These are years when people, men and women alike are trying to prove themselves at work, find a partner, decide where to live, find a passion, etc. All of this is hard enough without layering on epilepsy. Then to add on the element of needing the self discipline to develop a document and share it with people is a lot to ask.

However, I will say again it can save your life.

It offers you control

Here’s the deal. The use of a Seizure Action Plan can offer you a way to control a situation when you are physically not in control. Personally this appeals to me. It allows you to clearly guide others on how you want to be cared for such as understanding what to do during a seizure, when watchful waiting is appropriate, when to intervene with at-home rescue medications, when to call 911 or go to the hospital, and much more.

It’s nice to have a little control back. Wouldn’t you agree?


This article was made possible through an educational grant from Neurelis Inc.  Neurelis had no influence on the content of the articles or the videos or any aspect of this program.

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Founder and CEO Jessica brings a unique perspective to this leading epilepsy blog as she was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teen. She also brings 20+ years experience in marketing.

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