Epilepsy alarms and monitors

On this page we talk about epilepsy alarms and monitors, or seizure alert systems, that are designed to detect seizures. We also list some other devices that may be useful if you have epilepsy.

We also have safety advice and information about safety equipment and funding on our website.

A smartphone displaying a healthcare app which could be an epilepsy alarm or monitor

Research into the development and benefits of seizure alarms and monitors is ongoing. There isn’t enough evidence yet to show that using a seizure alarm or monitor can guarantee someone’s safety during a seizure or prevent sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP). But some people with epilepsy have found using alarms and monitors helpful as part of a risk reduction plan.

Epilepsy Action can’t give advice on what sort of device would best meet your needs. And we can’t make recommendations about any of the companies or products listed on this page.

How do I choose a seizure alarm system?

Most seizure alarms are designed to detect tonic-clonic seizures. These seizures are easier to detect because they involve movement. Other seizure types, such as focal and absence seizures are harder to detect. Because of this, devices designed to detect tonic-clonic seizures are more accurate and there is more evidence to support their use.

Some questions that could help when choosing an alarm include:

  • Do you want it to detect seizures during sleep, during the day or both?
  • Does it detect the type of seizures you have?
  • How does it detect seizures? Most systems detect movement, but some detect sound, heart-rate, urination, getting out of bed and, more recently, brain activity. If you’re not sure whether a device will work for your seizures talk to your epilepsy nurse or doctor.
  • How sensitive is it? Can you adjust the sensitivity if you need to, for example if you keep getting false alarms?
  • Will it work with your existing phone or home technology or do you need extra equipment?
  • Will it be comfy and easy to use?
  • Does the company that makes it offer a guarantee, and do they provide ongoing technical support? Bear in mind that a device that connects to a phone or tablet may need regular software updates. Eventually you might need to replace it if it stops being compatible with more modern technology.
  • Who will it alert when you have a seizure? Do you want it to alert someone you live with, someone outside your home, or to connect to a telecare service?
  • How much does it cost to buy? Is there a monthly subscription fee?
  • Are there reviews about the products you are looking at?


What seizure alarms and monitors are available?

Seizure alarms and monitors are designed to detect seizures and let someone know so they can help you. They are usually made up of a sensor and a pager or mobile phone link.

Here we explain the different kinds of systems that are available in the UK and give contact details of stockists we know of. There may be other stockists available.

It’s a good idea to compare a few systems to get an idea of prices and how they work. We also recommend that you talk to stockists where possible to see how their systems could work for your or your child’s needs.

See our page about funding for safety equipment for information about VAT exemption.


What other types of alarms and monitors are available?

  • Fall alarms, which go off if you fall to the ground. Check with manufacturers if it continues to sound when a person is moving on the ground or not as in a tonic-clonic seizure
  • Baby monitors, which can be useful if you always make a noise when having a seizure. Video baby monitors are also available
  • Most smart phones have the technology to set up an option for sharing your location with people you trust. There are also lots of different types of smaller GPS trackers available
  • Alarms with a button to press when you need help. These might work for you if you always get a warning before a seizure
  • Automatic phone dialling alarms which phone chosen numbers when you press an alarm button
  • IP (Internet Protocol) cameras and monitors may be helpful to video record information about seizures. IP cameras are a type of digital video camera which use an internet network to view, record and store video footage. Some have sound options as well. But they aren’t alarms and they won’t alert you if a seizure happens.

The Disabled Living Foundation’s website Living made easy has information about different types of alarms and monitors. You can also call them for advice on 0300 999 0004.

If you live in Northern Ireland, Care direct 24/7 offers a range of care solutions for epilepsy.

What’s a telecare service?

A telecare service is an alarm or monitor in your home that connects to a call centre. They are sometimes called a careline, lifeline or community alarm service. If an alarm or monitor in your home is activated, it alerts the call centre. Someone from the call centre can then take action. This action could include:

  • Calling you to check if you’re alright
  • Calling a nominated carer, friend or family member to check on you
  • Calling the emergency services to check on you

Telecare alarms are general alarms and not designed as epilepsy alarms.

The NHS website has more information about telecare.

Can I get funding for an alarm?

Some people can get funding or free monitors and alarms from their local authority social care services. Some charities also provide free monitors, or grants to help pay for them. You may also be eligible for VAT exemption on any alarm you buy.

To find out more, visit our page about funding for safety aids and equipment.

Some people may be eligible for benefits to help with the extra costs of living with a long-term health condition or disability

To find out more, visit our page about benefits for people with epilepsy.

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: September 2023
Last modified: May 2024
To be reviewed: September 2026
Tracking: L040.10 (previously F141B)
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