Seizures

Handling Seizures in Nursing Homes Safely and Compassionately

Seizures in nursing homes are a major issue for residents. This medical condition is caused when an abnormal electrical discharge pulses through the brain. In some cases, these seizures can cause convulsions in the body, life-threatening complications and a change in mental functioning.

Why Do Seizures Occur?

Although seizures are normally associated with epilepsy, they can be caused by various medications and health problems. If the individual is ill, a high fever can cause a seizure to take place. Additionally, seizures can take place after an accident or major trauma. Individuals may develop a seizure due to a brain tumor, stroke, sickness or surgery.

When treating seizures, nursing homes are supposed to provide medication or treatment that helps the individual to learn how to function normally. If this medication is forgotten or treatment does not occur, a seizure can be life threatening. In severe cases, surgery may be done to remove the sections of the brain where the seizure takes place. There is also a technique that can block this portion of the brain from sending signals, but it is rarely used among seizure patients.

Handling a Seizure

If someone is having a seizure, the people around them should remove any obstacles like sharp metal or furniture that could hurt the patient. The seizing person should be placed with a blanket or pillow under their head. As soon as the seizure begins, emergency medical services should be called. If possible, the individual should be turned onto their side to prevent them from swallowing their tongue or any vomit. The seizing person should not be held down because it can make the situation worse.

After the seizure has finished, the individual should not eat or drink until they are able to sit upright and be fully awake. They should be kept comfortable while the doctor is called. A doctor may want to monitor the individual’s medications or check the blood levels of the medication.

What Are the Symptoms of a Seizure?

Before a seizure, the individual may stare off into space or have a change in awareness. Their sense of smell or taste may be altered, and they may have a strange taste in their mouth. Other signs of an impending seizure include convulsing movements, a tingling sensation, twitching muscles or confusion. The individual may feel a sudden, unexplained fear and anxiety as the seizure starts.

There are certain things that increase the risk of having seizures in nursing homes. Over-the-counter supplements, herbs, medication and alcohol can increase the chances that someone will have a seizure. Additionally, sudden changes in sleeping patterns make a seizure more likely to occur.

Seizures Among the Elderly

Seizures in nursing homes can be especially frightening to witness. If the nursing home has attentive, knowledgeable medical staff, they will be able to handle the seizure and take care of the patient. Unfortunately, an estimated 44 percent of nursing home residents report having some form of abuse during their stay. A total of 95 percent of nursing home residents have reported neglect on some level. For individuals with seizures in nursing homes, having a seizure can be life-threatening if the staff is not able to monitor the individual’s situation.

Before you put your loved one in a nursing home, you should always check out the nursing home’s open lawsuits and reputation. Even with the best research, there is always a chance that a loved one will suffer from neglect or abuse during their stay. If you or your loved one has dealt with untreated seizures in nursing homes, you have legal and medical options that can help. Seizures are treatable and preventable if the medical staff performs their job correctly.

 

Sources:

http://www.hupy.com/library/nursing-home-abuse-statistics-the-true-story.cfm

http://nursingcenter.com/JournalArticle?Article_ID=715092

http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/16-charged-in-detroitarea-as-part-of-nationwide-health-care-fraud-sweep/33652072