Patient Support

Every patient who walks through the doors at the Epilepsy Center has a unique story, and it is our job to find and understand that story while we provide the best care for you.

The goal is to control or stop seizures so you can live independently and happily. As part of that goal, we work to provide every type of support you and your caregivers need along your journey.

Such support is a vital part of what we can do to help you. That includes:

  • Behavioral health support from our social workers
  • Integrative medicine to help ease any anxiety or pain
  • Classes and support groups to learn more from our experts and other patients living with epilepsy

You can also find information in these resources we’ve created for our patients:

Online Epilepsy Resources:

Video Resources:

Seizure First Aid

Tips for helping someone who is having a seizure:

  • Stay calm and be reassuring.
  • Move the person to a safe place and clear the area of hard or sharp objects.
  • Ease the person to the ground.
  • Turn the person onto one side.
  • Protect the head by supporting it with something soft; keep the face uncovered.
  • Loosen any restrictive items (tie, collar, necklace, etc.)
  • Do not put anything in the person’s mouth (spoons, tongue depressors, etc.); the person cannot swallow his or her tongue.
  • Do not hold the person down or try to stop his or her movements; you may hurt them, or they may hurt you.
  • Stay with the person until the seizure stops.
  • If the person is very upset or violent, stay back.
  • Do not try to give the person water or anything by mouth until he or she is alert and able to swallow without choking.
  • Use a watch to time the seizure as soon as you see one begin.
  • If needed, allow the person to rest while someone observes them for more seizures; stay nearby until he or she is alert.

Call 911 or immediately go to the emergency room:

  • If a seizure lasts five minutes or longer.
  • When seizures occur back to back without returning to normal in between.
  • When injury occurs (head trauma, suspected broken bone, etc.).
  • If the person does not start breathing normally once the seizure stops.
  • If the person is pregnant.
  • If the person has diabetes or a serious heart condition.
  • If you are concerned something else could be wrong.
  • If the person is more confused or upset than usual after a seizure (especially if he or she becomes violent).

 Download the Seizure First Aid Guide

Driving with Seizures

Safety First

Laws about driving with seizures have one goal – maintaining your safety and that of your family and others in the community.

As your medical providers, we understand the importance of driving and want you to be able to drive. We will use our knowledge of medicine and Connecticut laws to get you behind the wheel IF and WHEN it is safe!

According to the National Epilepsy Foundation, it’s important to remember:

  • Driving is a privilege.
  • Laws protect public safety and grant driving privileges to people who are the least likely to have an accident.
  • It’s not just the driver and passengers who are at risk, but also pedestrians and people in other vehicles.
  • Studies show that people with epilepsy have more car accidents than average (although rates are lower than those for drunk driving).
  • Usually, people with epilepsy need their medical provider to ll out a form stating the date of the last seizure, type and other details. Some states ask for the provide recommendation about the person’s ability to drive.
  • In states that do not require a speci c seizure-free time period, the provider’s recommendation may carry considerable weight.

Connecticut Law

Each state has different laws about driving with seizures. The full Connecticut law can be found here.

It states that:

  • Doctors are not required to tell the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that you had a seizure. However, you should tell your provider the details for the most accurate and helpful advice.
  • There is no set amount of time you cannot drive after a seizure. You are legally allowed to drive once your healthcare provider advises you it is safe. This might require completion of DMV forms and DMV approval.
  • When the DMV knows a person had an episode of altered consciousness or loss of bodily control, the person needs to file specific medical forms. Then:
    • The commissioner reviews the forms.
    • Any event within six months prior requires an opinion of the Medical Advisory Board. The Board recommends timing on an individual basis and may also require future medical reports.
    • Anyone whose license is withdrawn may appeal.

Hartford HealthCare Policy

With your safety in mind, if you have had a seizure or similar event, we recommend:

  • No driving within three months of your last seizure. In speci c situations, a seizure care provider may shorten or lengthen that period.
  • Many diagnoses other than seizures may be unsafe. This includes fainting, anxiety attacks and low blood sugar. The risk of having an event, more than the exact diagnosis, is key to our decision to limit driving.
  • Some situations warrant driving restriction even if there are no ongoing seizure events. You cannot drive during and after any change in seizure medications, including dose reduction, medication replacement or missed doses. Talk with your seizure care provider about the length of driving restriction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What if I don’t lose consciousness and can remember the whole seizure?
A: Talk with your seizure care provider about those details so he or she can give you the safest plan.

Q: My doctor told me I have non-epileptic events, not seizures. Can I drive?
A: The diagnosis, or cause of the events, is not as important as the fact that the events are occurring. Any event that causes loss of awareness or bodily control can impair driving.

Q:Can I drive now that I started taking seizure medications?
A: Seizure medications don’t always prevent all seizures. Talk with your seizure care provider about your speci c situation.

Q: What if I have been seizure-free for a long time and driving, but then have a seizure?
A: Unfortunately, the driving restriction begins again whenever a seizure occurs. If you have had a seizure after a long time seizure-free, stop driving and talk to your seizure care provider. seizure care

Download the Driving with Seizures Brochure

The Ayer Neuroscience Institute

The Ayer Neuroscience Institute works to treat the full range of neurologic conditions. Our mission is more personal - to provide advanced, collaborative services across the state.

About the Institute

Hartford HealthCare Epilepsy Center