Penny – Epilepsy

Penny has a complex medical and social history, being known to have experienced an extremely traumatic and turbulent life prior to her brain injury. She developed epilepsy as a teenager and suffered an anoxic brain injury after having a seizure whilst swimming.

Penny was left with slowed information processing, poor memory and executive function difficulties. In particular, Penny has difficulty planning and organising herself, she has slurred speech and a highly impaired ability to assess the safety of a situation. Penny was also left with physical impairments including left sided weakness and poor balance.

Following her injury, Penny’s behaviour meant that she was unable to return to the community, and she was placed in a residential mental health unit. Penny found this very distressing and her emotional state, paranoia and behaviour deteriorated further. She became verbally and physically aggressive towards others.

Penny continued to express the wish to return to live in her own home, and following psychiatric review, it was considered that this might be possible with the right support. In 2006, Penny was discharged to live in a housing association property with support from Active Assistance. Her care hours have varied over the years and according to fluctuations in her behaviour and epilepsy.

In 2015, Penny’s seizures began to increase in frequency and severity. She had a number of uncontrolled seizures that required hospitalisation, and there were a number of instances when Penny had large seizures during the night when she was alone and unable to summon help. Active Assistance immediately raised concerns about Penny’s safety being on her own at night and worked with the local authority and continuing healthcare to provide emergency overnight support, whilst seeking an urgent review of her epilepsy medication. Penny now has around the clock support and her epilepsy has stabilised. Staff are able to recognise signs of a seizure, and are on hand to summon the emergency services if this is necessary. Staff also support Penny to ensure that she takes her epilepsy medication appropriately.

Penny has achieved many things in the time in the community. She has fulfilled her long-held ambition to go abroad on holiday, and to have her own pet, adopting her cat, Misty in 2016. Penny is a talented writer and has taken up writing again. She also cooks regularly, planning meals and shopping with her team each week to ensure that she has the ingredients she needs. She is a member of her local social club and attends regular evening events.

Penny continues to experience anxieties about various aspects of her life, and her epilepsy can still be a challenge at times. However, with the support of her staff team who she trusts, she is able to manage many aspects of her day to day life and has become part of her local community. She is extremely house proud and is determined to continue working hard to maintain her independence.