What do you do when someone starts to experience seizures and they are confined to a wheelchair? How do you react and what steps do you follow? This article seeks to highlight the recommended procedure of what you should and should not do so that you are well prepared for such emergencies. In the event that you come across someone experiencing a seizure when in a wheelchair, or one who is strapped onto their pram, make sure you do the following:
i) Protect them to make sure that they do not fall off. This is an important aspect of wheelchair first aid especially in the absence of a seat belt to hold an individual in place. The importance of such is further compounded by the fact that seizures are characterized by sudden jerking movements.
ii) Check to ensure that the wheelchair or stroller is in place so that it does not move away even as you carry out first aid. Get some help to ensure that the victim does not get injured.
iii) While giving first aid, provide support for the victim’s head. You could do this by providing a soft pillow and resting the victim’s head on it. Improvise with clothing if a pillow is not available immediately.
iv) Get rid of any potentially harmful objects to prevent the victim from getting injured during the seizures. This is key in providing wheelchair first aid. This is more pronounced especially in the arm and leg region.
v) Since consciousness often resumes after a few minutes, first aiders are advised to time the seizures so that they are able to provide handy information to professional medical personnel.
vi) Once you have offered wheelchair first aid, you should take the step to reassure the patient and explain what happened to them. This is especially important if the seizures occurred in a public place since it is likely that the victim will be disoriented following the seizure episode.
vii) Once the seizure is over, the first aider must check to make sure that the victim’s airways are not blocked. Part of doing this involves providing support to the head as well as clearing any vomit or food.
What are some of the things that you should NOT do?
i) Do not attempt to stop the seizure at all.
ii) Avoid putting anything into the victim’s mouth when administering wheelchair first aid.
iii) Do not remove the victim from the seat as this provides support to some extent.
iv) You should call for medical professional help if the seizure lasts more than five minutes or if the victim does not regain consciousness 5 minutes after the seizure has stopped. You should also call for help if the victim experiencing seizures is expectant or is known to suffer from diabetes.
v) If you are certain that the victim receiving wheelchair first aid is experiencing seizures for the first time.