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Seizures In Nursing Homes

Seizures occur when the brain releases an abnormal, chaotic discharge of electricity.  Some seizures can cause convulsions and/or altered mental status.

Seizures may cause a variety of injuries.  In the most serious cases, a patient can suffer brain damage or death from not getting enough oxygen to the brain during the seizure.  Patients may also suffer injuries while they are convulsing – for example, from falling to the ground, banging against objects while convulsing, or from being restrained.

Seizures can have many causes, including epilepsy; high fever; head trauma; brain tumor; stroke; certain medications; and infection, like meningitis.

In many cases, seizures can be controlled with medications.  It is very important that anti-seizure medications be administered correctly, reliably, and on time.  Missing even one dosage can lead to seizure activity.

In a nursing home, the staff should be trained on how to handle a seizure – for example, by:

  • Ensuring compliance with anti-seizure medication regimens
  • Calling 911 immediately
  • Padding and removing obstacles from around a seizing patient
  • Turning the person on their side, if possible
  • Not giving anything to eat or drink
  • Checking the person’s blood sugar levels and providing supplemental oxygen if needed

If you need support or have any questions, please contact us for immediate assistance.


 Schacter, Steven; Shafer, Patricia; and Sirven, Joseph.  March 2014.  “Treating Seizures and Epilepsy.”  Epilepsy Foundation.  Available at


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