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Advice on in-home caregiver with epilepsy

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm a SAHM, trying to start my own small business. I recently hired a great sitter to come in and help me two days a week at four hours a day - just so I can get started on developing some clients (marketing/pr for small businesses & nonprofits).

 

Last week, our sitter didn't show up and texted me that she didn't think she could come work that day. Turns out that she had an epileptic seizure on my front porch so violent that it knocked her off of our porch and onto the sidewalk. She had to go to the hospital by ambulance (the crazy thing is, we didn't hear any of this happen!). So my DH and I talked to her today and she said she's certain that her triggers are alcohol (due to her medication) and lack of sleep and that she has now sworn off even an occasional beer and is taking pains to ensure she has a good night's sleep. My DH and I are first time parents, our DS is 5 months old. Our greatest fear is that she will have a seizure when she is out with him, or even in our house which is a 3-story Victorian. She assures us that she, who has had epilepsy since she was 16, has never had an episode with a child (she's been a child-care provider for many years - she's now 25) and that because she knows her triggers, it won't happen when she is with our DS.

 

Does anyone here have experience with epilepsy? Is it too much of a risk? She did not disclose that she had the condition initially and it doesn't seem to bother the other family for whom she sits. I would never forgive myself if something happened to my DS under her care, knowing that there is an added factor of a potential seizure.

 

I would greatly appreciate any feedback.

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 4

The severity of the seizure she just had would concern me, in combination with your son's age. I think if she were with my own kids, who are 6 and almost 5, as long as she wasn't driving them, I wouldn't be so worried. They could be prepped for "what to do if" and we'd take the same precautions we do when any of us has the possibility of a health issue (one kiddo has relatively mild food allergies but the other carries an epipen for insect bites, so we're already conversant with "what to do if" scenarios). Did she have a plan to offer in case she did have a seizure while caring for your son? I'd feel better if she were able to say something like, "I've identified my triggers and feel fairly sure this won't happen again, but just in case, here are possible emergency plans -- for babysitter coverage in case I can't come in, and for your son's safety and wellbeing if he's in my care when I do have a seizure." I know it can be scary to have to say something like that, because it acknowledges that something could go wrong, but it makes more sense to have a plan than not. I'm disabled, and when I offer to have the kids' friends over or to babysit, I have to take my abilities into account -- if I'm in charge of a toddler who's a runner and I know I might not be able to catch him quickly, then I need to let his parents know up front and either make plans to play somewhere safe (like indoors with doors latched) or have a toddler "leash" or a more able-bodied helper, etc.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your thoughts. I spoke with a friend of mine whose brother has epilepsy and she recommended that it wasn't the best idea as well. To your point, if our DS was older it probably would not be an issue. The part that really bothers me is that she didn't disclose it from the get-go, nor did she have any real solutions for the possibility of it happening again other than she was sure it wouldn't. All it takes is once for my child to become gravely injured. I just feel terrible about it because she's a lovely girl and she's good with my son, and the compassionate side of me doesn't want to let her go for a condition that is not her fault. But my son's safety must be paramount.

post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanVenus View Post

She assures us that she, who has had epilepsy since she was 16, has never had an episode with a child (she's been a child-care provider for many years - she's now 25) and that because she knows her triggers, it won't happen when she is with our DS.


This part I don't like. She's using the technicality that she was on the porch and not yet in your house to say she hasn't had one with a child. If this had been 5 minutes later, she would have been alone with your son while you were out of the house. 

 

She says it won't happen with your DS, well IMO, it DID happen. She was a few minutes shy of being alone with him. And she offered you no solution as to what the emergency plan would have been if this had happened 5 minutes later.

 

I understand she knows her triggers and the alcohol sounds like it will be easy for her to control, but lack of sleep? Sometimes you just have a crappy night and don't sleep well, sometimes something keeps you up like loud neighbours or dogs, etc. Will she be honest when she has not had a good sleep and call to cancel? and then what will you do for childcare? What if she's not honest about when she's had a bad sleep?

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