Steps in rescue management for children with epilepsy


On the second day of the British International League Against Epilepsy Congress in Glasgow, Young Epilepsy announces the launch of a new educational campaign aimed at supporting parents and carers of children with epilepsy. The campaign will raise awareness of good practice in implementing rescue management of prolonged, acute, convulsive seizures in children, with the aim of reducing the risk of progression to status epilepticus and its associated risks which can include brain damage.

Steps in rescue management for children with epilepsy:

1. Note the time when the seizure started

2. Clear the area to allow the child to move freely and safely

3. Administer rescue medication according to the child’s emergency protocol (usually after 5 minutes in convulsive seizures)

4. Reassure and monitor the child

5. Call an ambulance if the seizure continues for 5 minutes after giving rescue medication

“As most prolonged, acute, convulsive seizures, occur in the community, whether or not children receive the immediate treatment needed as prescribed by their doctor depends on the presence of a parent, teacher or carer, who is trained and able to administer rescue medication,” explains Lisa Farmer, Interim Chief Executive at Young Epilepsy, the national charity dedicated to improving the lives of young people with the condition. “It’s vital anyone working with children with epilepsy be familiar with emergency rescue medication. We hope that by promoting these five simple steps for parents and carers of young people with epilepsy to follow, they will feel more confident in providing rescue medication when required, and help prevent possible serious health consequences from a prolonged seizure,” continued Lisa.

Epilepsy affects around one in every 200 children and young people in the UK. The condition is the most common neurological disorder in children, and is characterized by recurrent seizures, most of which are brief and stop themselves after 1-2 minutes without the need for immediate medical treatment. However, some seizures may become prolonged, lasting for 5 minutes or more. These prolonged, acute, convulsive seizures are unlikely to stop on their own and require emergency treatment.

“NICE and other international guidelines recommend that any convulsive seizure lasting longer than 5 minutes should be treated with rescue medication as quickly as possible to prevent progression to status epilepticus” highlighted Nina Solomon, Epilepsy Specialist Nurse at Young Epilepsy. She adds, “In practice, valuable time often passes as carers wait for an ambulance to arrive and for them to administer rescue medication.”

This campaign will be rolled out across the UK, with information available from the Young Epilepsy website, or to receive the information by post, call the Young Epilepsy Helpline on 01342 831342.

Dr Kristin Pagano, Medical Manager at ViroPharma commented: “ViroPharma is delighted to announce the launch of this campaign. We are committed to educating patients and carers of children with epilepsy about the rescue management of prolonged, acute, convulsive seizures in the community. We will work closely with Young Epilepsy to communicate this educational and awareness campaign and promote good practice in the provision of such rescue management in the community.”

About Young Epilepsy

Young Epilepsy is the national charity working exclusively on behalf of children and young people with epilepsy. With over 100 years of experience we are a leading provider of specialist health and education services. The charity offers support, information, training for health, social care and education professionals and campaigns to improve access to, and quality of, health and education services.

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