Tony Bullars, Sales and Support Director for Alert-it alarms, discusses how their range of support monitors came about and how they can help people living with epilepsy.

The development of the range of support monitors supplied by Alert-it began in 1992. At this time our Managing Director, David Godfrey, took up a challenge given to Remap (a charity). The challenge came from a local mum in Hinckley, who wanted a device to alert her when her daughter was having a tonic-clonic seizure at night.

Prototyping…

David knew nothing of epilepsy at that time, but he did know a thing or two about electronics, having designed control systems for the tilting advanced passenger train and many pressure controls and measuring products. So, having adapted a sensor he’d read about in Practical Wireless to detect bed movement, he added a small microcomputer to determine if the pattern could be a seizure and coupled in a cheap wireless doorbell. He had the fundamental nocturnal seizure detector, which was used until 2010. After this, the lady was given an up-to-date manufactured version by David. Still, she claims the crude prototype saved her daughter’s life on more than one occasion. While David cannot claim to be the inventor of nocturnal bed movement detectors for use in supporting epilepsy (the Victorians used to fit a bell onto the bed head for this purpose), it must have been one of the first electronic versions!

The purpose of Alert-it has always been to support ‘domestic’ customers by working on a one-to-one basis. Our aim has been to design and manufacture an epilepsy monitor that can be self-installed and supported, but the customer knows that support is always on hand.

How monitors work to support people with epilepsy

The Companion Monitor is ideal for support of tonic-clonic seizures as well as situations that manifest sounds. It is perfect for domestic or professional use. Bed movement detection uses a highly sensitive sensor under the mattress to analyse the frequency of movement and activate an alarm if the movement is too long and frequent. The sensor works with most bed stiles and mattress.

Then there’s the Guardian Monitor which is our most advanced monitor and can be applied to the most demanding situations. Like the Companion, the Guardian can monitor bed movement, sound, incontinence, vomiting and bed vacation. In this case the movement detection has the capability of supporting those with tonic-clonic and tonic only (supporting those at risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) seizures. It is used by many in a professional care environment, respite and educational facilities because of its highly adaptable operation. It is equally perfect for domestic use where there are complex seizure patterns.

Lending a hand

Through our work with charities and trying to understand more about epilepsy, we are building up awareness of how people with epilepsy can be supported, and not just with monitors, so we can develop the phrase below.

Lend H.A.N.D.

Help – Stop and help

Analyse – Analyse the situation (What type of seizure is it? Are they in danger? Are they hurt?)

Need – What do you need to do/what do they need? (Move away from danger, put them in the recovery position, and call an ambulance if a fit lasts longer than five minutes)

Discuss – Most people will come around with no recollection, so discuss what has happened and make sure they don’t need any more help.

Just remember that if you panic you won’t be able to help anyone so stay calm.

All you need to remember is to ‘lend H.A.N.D’ whether you’re assisting someone you know or a stranger on the street and you can really make a difference in a person’s day.

 

Find out more about Alert-it

You can also read more about technology to support people with epilespy on the Tunstall site