What can you do when you see someone having a seizure or a fall?

by Amanda Bartley, B.S.-SLP, Adaptive Dance Instructor, Jasmine’s Beat

With summer around the corner and more people out and about, do you know how to spot a hazard? What if someone is having a seizure or a fall? While this does not include all the ways nor does it take the place of a medical personnel, this is a way to be informed in such a situation.


Seizure onset:

Generalized- electrical activity affects both sides of the brain at the same time. 

Focal- can start in one specific area or group of cells in one side of the brain. 

Unknown- the beginning of the seizure is unknown.

Awareness level:

A person can be awake and alert during seizure activity. 

A person can be confused or their awareness is affected during seizure activity. 

Movement activity:

Clonus movements: sustained rhythmic jerking movements 

Atomic movements: muscles become weak or limp 

Tonic movements: muscles become tense or rigid

Myoclonic movements: muscles twitch briefly.

*Seizures without motor symptoms are absence seizures. 

What to do if a person is having a seizure:

1. Move nearby objects out of the way

2. Make the person as comfortable as possible. 

3. If they appear to be choking, turn them on their side. 

4. Know when to call 911

A. if a seizure is longer than 5 minutes 

B. If a person has one seizure right after another without regaining consciousness. 

C. If the person has trouble breathing 

D. If the person is choking

E. If the person becomes injured 

F. If the seizure occurs in water 

G. If the person asks for medical assistance. 

What NOT to do

1. Leave the person alone 

2. Put any object in their mouth 

3. Hold the person down.  


If a person falls:

In a healthcare setting- contact nursing staff to complete necessary transfers

And is able to move with no apparent acute injury- assist them to roll onto their side, stomach, or assist them to sit upright. 

When the person is upright or on their hands and knees: 

1. Fasten a gait belt around their torso.

2. Bring a chair to the participant 

3. A profession will help assist the person to stand. 

4. Once the person is standing, assist them to the nearby chair. 

5. Call medical personnel.