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Alarms and safety aids

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Alarms and safety aids

Some people with epilepsy find it helpful to consider safety aids or equipment that might help them with day-to-day life. For example, an alarm, or monitor, that can alert family or friends when someone has a seizure.

Assessing your safety needs

Epilepsy can affect people differently. If your seizures are controlled by treatment, your safety may not be affected. But if you continue to have seizures, safety may be an issue for you. You might find it helpful to complete a risk assessment to help you to identify any possible risk when doing an activity, and provide some practical ideas to make an activity safer.

You can also ask your local social services for a 'needs assessment', which looks at your safety at home. Needs assessments are usually carried out by an occupational therapist (OT) who will visit you at home. This might identify the need for support or safety equipment, such as an alarm.

Alarm systems may be available through housing associations or social services departments, and are sometimes called community alarms, 'Lifeline' or Telecare systems. Charges for community alarms vary from one authority to another, and also vary according to the service provided.

Some mobile phones and mobile phone apps are able to track your location and send this information to family, friends, or the emergency services.

VAT exemption

Some equipment designed specifically to help people with disabilities does not include VAT. For example, you may not need to pay VAT on a seizure alarm system or other safety aids if you say it is for someone with epilepsy.

Call the HM Revenue and Customs  on 0300 200 3700 or visit GOV.UK for more information.

Bed seizure alarms, fall call alarms and personal alarms

There are different types of alarm for different types of seizure. Some are set off when someone falls in a seizure or has a convulsive seizure in bed. Others can be set off by the person themselves if they feel a seizure coming on.

The charity Disabled Living Foundation provide independent advice and supplier information for bed seizure alarms, 'fall call' and personal alarm systems, including devices that use global positioning satellites (GPS) or mobile phone technology to locate a person. Visit their website or call their helpline on 0300 123 3084.

The following organisation offers grants for night time epilepsy monitors for children with uncontrolled epilepsy:
The Daisy Garland 01803 847 999. There may be a waiting list.

Information updated: May 2023

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