Vix aged 28
Vix was first diagnosed with primary generalised epilepsy at the age of 6.
After being diagnosed, Vix and her family had to change the way they did things. What was once a normal everyday part of life was now a potential risk and danger, tasks like getting dressed for school, cleaning teeth or eating breakfast became incredibly difficult and made attending school very tiring.
She began getting tonic-clonic seizures during both the day and night, sometimes experiencing them almost every day. When Vix has a seizure she often falls backwards losing consciousness and convulsing, with a tendency to hit her head and bite her tongue.
The seizures usually last 2-3 minutes and if any last longer than 5 minutes she is told to call for an ambulance. Some have lasted almost an hour before doctors have been able to help. This has affected every aspect of Vix’s life and her consideration of the risks she faces.
"I have had to learn a lot about potential dangers and the way I need to manage them. I have suffered several injuries because of having a seizure while undertaking day-to-day tasks. I suffered serious burns from boiling water when making a cup of tea. Now I use a microwave instead. While holding a glass, I received deep cuts to my hand and wrist when the glass smashed as I hit the floor. This resulted in excessive bleeding and now I have to use shatter proof glasses, and after falling down stairs I now use a lift where possible".
Vix contacted Worcestershire Telecare to enquire about any assistive technology that could help her and support her independence. We offered Vix a trial of an Empatica Embrace Watch and the results have been fantastic.
The Embrace is a smart watch device that helps to detect and predict epileptic seizures, measure stress, activity and sleep. Embrace is unique because it measures both movement and physiological signs from deep within the brain, which produce activity in the skin, to detect seizures.
One of the physiological signs it measures is the Electrodermal activity (or Galvanic Skin Response), which is triggered when people are really excited or stressed. It's also been shown that seizures trigger this same response. The combined measure of Electrodermal activity, movement and other physiological signs makes Embrace highly accurate in seizure detection.
"I feel more confident than ever before, and my family feel reassured that I am safe and they will be alerted straight away if I start to have a seizure. The Embrace watch looks great; it can alert carers, family or whoever you want. I no longer have the worry of having a seizure without anyone being aware of it."
The Embrace has proven successful in detecting 100% of Vix's seizures since she began wearing the device. As a result she has become more confident in going out socialising and feels much more independent. Her family are reassured by the technology and it offers them peace of mind knowing that they would be alerted and can react immediately.
"Epilepsy caused low self-esteem, I always felt socially isolated and self-conscious about going out in case of having a seizure. With the Embrace, my life has improved and I have gained independence".
Vix also has Asperger's Syndrome, which has always made socialising difficult and her epilepsy has caused her to feel even more anxious when in social situations. She did not feel confident in going out alone in case she had a seizure without her family on-hand to help. The Embrace has already improved Vix’s confidence and she is now much more independent. She regularly goes out to meet friends, safe in the knowledge that her family will be alerted if she has a seizure.
Vix's family have also been impressed with the Embrace and the difference it has made to them. They feel reassured that they can be prepared if a seizure is about to start.
Knowing that there is always someone aware of her condition has changed her family's approach to caring for Vix and helps them to support her independence. To know that Vix has an early warning of seizures and they can be alerted provides them with the peace of mind that she will always get the helps she needs.
Worcestershire Telecare is continuing to follow Vix's progress and condition, and shall be looking at any further support, through products and/or service, that may assist her going forward.