The epilepsy service at the Royal Free Hospital aims to enhance the quality of life for those diagnosed with epilepsy and their families. We do this through treatment, support, provision of advice and education regarding epilepsy. The epilepsy service also aims to increase levels of understanding on a wide range of issues pertaining to epilepsy, reduce relapses and side-effects where treatment is necessary and aid the reduction in misdiagnosis. Reports combined with formal assessments enable the service to continue running several outpatient clinics per week and assess, plan and treat others as inpatients when necessary.
The clinical nurse specialist for epilepsy will coordinate and liaise with other healthcare professionals in accordance with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines. In response to this, the nurse specialist will see patients within nurse-led clinics twice per week and follow up the care and treatment of others via formally arranged telephone consultations once per week. The nurse will also aim to provide a level of training relevant to the needs of either in-staff or carers alike.
The nurse specialist will primarily act as a confidential point of contact for the majority of patients already known to the consultant neurologists and other specialists. Patients may wish to focus upon certain areas that concern them – these may include proposed or present treatment including side-effects, relapses, risk management, memory impairment, mood, maintaining continuity of services that support them or providing a pathway to accessing other services.
The nurse may also wish to raise other areas with the patients that would otherwise not necessarily be discussed. These may include the probability of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) in certain patients, reproductive issues inclusive of planning for pregnancy, the lowering of fertility and sexual dysfunction.