I’m often asked “why do staff need to do epilepsy awareness training?” And of course the short answer is: it’s a CQC requirement for care providers. But as an epilepsy awareness trainer, I can give you a different answer; I can tell you why the people in your care want care staff to have epilepsy awareness training…

How do I know?

I had epilepsy.

I was diagnosed at fifteen months old and had uncontrolled seizures well into my adult life. The seizures only stopped after I was referred to a specialist epilepsy centre for treatment. It took nine months, but it worked. My seizures stopped. After that, I knew that I wanted to help hardworking professionals like you extend the very best support to people with epilepsy.

As a trainer, I can give your staff the knowledge they need to support people with epilepsy effectively. We’ll consider ways your care staff can best help people with epilepsy in your care, including the provision of activities and life-coping mechanisms. We’ll discuss how they can identify different types of seizure – and what they’ll need to do in each case. We’ll also give them clear guidance on administering buccal midazolam and accessing appropriate NHS services.

These are all important parts of delivering effective care, but, from my own personal experience, I can tell you that there are two things that people with epilepsy really want, over and above everything else…

They want empathy. The empathy that comes from knowing that people close to them have an understanding of what it’s like to have epilepsy. For me, that in itself is reason enough to take epilepsy awareness training.

People with epilepsy also want hope. That’s what I wanted. I wanted to know there was at least a possibility that my life could be free from seizures. Hope is such a powerful force in our lives; the thought that I could improve my quality of life and access new opportunities kept driving me on. Your staff can give that hope to the people they support.

When you staff come on one of our course they’ll gain a new awareness of epilepsy. Our sessions go way beyond giving the information care staff need to administer emergency medication, they deal with some of the bigger questions:

  • What causes seizures?
  • What does a seizure feel like?
  • What sort of impact do seizures have on the individual’s life if they have learning disability or autism?

Of course you and I know that everyone in your care will be different. They’ll each have their own concerns and their own strategies for dealing with their epilepsy. But I promise you this: whoever they are, whatever their story, they will feel a hundred times better just knowing there is someone in their life who ‘gets’ it. Someone who understands – even if it’s only a little bit – what a life with epilepsy is really like.

It is reassuring knowing that there are people they can turn to when they’re feeling down – and there certainly will be times when a life with epilepsy grinds them down. They’ll feel better knowing that they can talk to your staff about managing their life with epilepsy. Believe me, when you’re growing up with epilepsy, you take a lot of comfort from knowing there are people out there you can really talk to.

But what about people who can’t communicate? Some of the people you support, now or in the future, may have profound and complex health issues that leave them unable to communicate verbally. They still need your support. They still crave an empathetic relationship. We can help your staff give them the support they need.

So that’s my take on the question of why care staff need to do epilepsy awareness training. There’s just one more thing to add…

Our courses will change the way your staff will approach working with people with epilepsy, both now and in the future. It will create greater empathy. It will help them deal with any unpredictable behaviour they may exhibit. And best of all, it will make their job more satisfying; more rewarding.

I promise you that staff enjoy being more epilepsy-aware. Most of all, they enjoy seeing the difference it makes to the people they care for. And that’s a great motivator.