Families who use Haven House have taken part in an Expert Parent Session on epilepsy in order to improve their confidence of managing their child’s condition.

The session was held on Friday 12 May at Haven House’s Holistic Care Centre in Woodford Green and hosted by Kirsten McHale, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Epilepsy & Neurodisability at East Surrey Hospital.

The session gave parents a chance to learn more about epilepsy and how to recognise and respond to seizures with practical demonstrations.  

Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain and causes repeated seizures. The seizures are caused by a sudden excessive burst of electrical activity in the brain, which results in an alteration in sensation, behaviour or consciousness.

There are over 40 different types of seizure, which can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Seizures may include twitching of the limbs, stiffness, and loss of consciousness or brief ‘absences’ where the brain switches off but the individual appears ‘normal’.

Eileen White, Director of Care at Haven House, said: “Many of our children experience severe epilepsy as part of their condition and it can be very distressing for families when seizures occur.

“A key area of focus for many of our parents is ensuring the right balance between medication which can reduce the likelihood and severity of seizures, but does not further reduce quality of life through debilitating side effects.

“Our Expert Parent Session on epilepsy is part of our regular programme of sessions designed to empower parents so they have the skills and confidence to manage their child's complex health.”

Tracey Wotton from Hainault, North East London, uses Haven House for her daughter, Ashley, 17, who has Rett Syndrome and severe epilepsy.

Tracey said: “It’s always useful to be kept up to date about new medication. Being in an informal setting allows you to discuss in greater detail shared experiences and hear from other parents.

“In a hospital appointment you are pressed for time and you don’t always get to discuss everything you need too.

“But here you can debate about the condition and expand your knowledge.”

Find out more about our Expert Parent Sessions.

Read Ashley's story.