If you care for someone who is experiencing seizures, it can be very helpful to record them with a smartphone or video camera. This can then be shown to the person’s doctor, which may help in diagnosis and treatment.
Some tips for filming:
- Ensure the person is safe and administer seizure first aid before you start filming, as the person’s wellbeing and dignity is most important
- When it is safe to do so, start filming, as it is good to capture as much seizure activity as possible
- Try and film the person’s whole body, and not just their head
- Try and record any sounds the person might be making, such as heavy breathing or spoken words
- During and/or after the seizure, ask the person some questions and record their responses to you. This may help with identifying whether their level of consciousness/alertness.
For example, during the seizure, you may want to ask the person to remember a colour or number – “I want you to remember the colour green”. If they can’t recall the colour or number after the seizure, it may indicate their awareness was impaired.
After the seizure, you may want to ask the person to tell you the date or day of the week. Their response can demonstrate their ability to recall information, as well as their level of awareness.
- Film for as long as you think the person is experiencing a seizure, as well as afterwards (the post-ictal period)
- If possible, also film the location where the seizure took place, as this might help to identify whether the environment may have triggered the seizure.
If you do film a person having a seizure, please be sure to respect their dignity and reassure them that you will not share the video with anyone other than their doctor. Particularly assure them that the video will never be shared on social media. The sharing of videos or images of a person without their consent is unethical and may be illegal with significant consequences.
If you are not an immediate family member or carer, and unlikely to be present during the medical appointment, ensure that the person receives a copy of the video as soon as possible. You also need to respect their wishes regarding the storage of the video. For example, they may wish for you to delete the video from your phone after they have received a copy.
It can be very distressing for a person to watch themselves having a seizure, so don’t be surprised if they don’t want to view the video. However, if the person would like to watch the video, it is a good idea to discuss what happened first, as this can prepare them for what they are about to see. If they would like, be there while they watch the video to provide support. If the person is distressed after viewing the video you may want to suggest that they speak to their doctor or another health professional.