Having a seizure in a wheelchair

If a person with epilepsy uses a wheelchair or has mobility problems, their GP or epilepsy specialist should give them a care plan. This should include advice on how to help the person if they have a seizure.

Here is some general advice about how to help someone who is having a seizure in a wheelchair.

A woman outdoors in a wheelchair

If someone has a seizure in a wheelchair, you should:

  • Put the brakes on to stop the chair from moving
  • Let them stay in the chair during the seizure (unless they have a care plan which says to move them). Moving them could possibly lead to injuries for both you and them
  • If they have a seatbelt or harness on, leave it fastened
  • Look to see if they have any medical ID such as a card or jewellery
  • If they don’t have a seatbelt or harness, support them gently, so they don’t fall out of the chair
  • Cushion their head and support it gently. A head rest, cushion or rolled up coat can be helpful
  • Time how long the seizure lasts

Other advice

It’s important that you don’t hold the person down or move them unless they are in danger. You shouldn’t try to bring them round and never give them anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered.

Call for an ambulance if any of these things apply:

  • You know it is their first seizure
  • The seizure lasts for more than five minutes
  • They have one seizure after another without regaining consiousness between seizures
  • They are seriously injured during the seizure

After the seizure

The person’s care plan should give advice on what to do after the seizure has finished. But if you don’t have this, it is safest to leave the person in their wheelchair, and don’t try to move them.

This information has been produced under the terms of the PIF TICK. The PIF TICK is the UK-wide Quality Mark for Health Information. Please contact website@epilepsy.org.uk if you would like a reference list for this information.
Published: October 2021
Last modified: April 2024
To be reviewed: March 2027
Tracking: A051.05 (previously B046)
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