Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (782)

Darren O'Rourke


782. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health the facilities and options available for persons with epilepsy in view of the lack of investment in neurology services and staff shortages in neurology centres nationwide. [6672/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Brainwave – the Irish Epilepsy Association

This project is a Sláintecare funded initiative. The purpose of the project is to develop a Pathway of Community Care Supports for people with Epilepsy in Ireland.

Context: The cumulative incidence of epilepsy is about 68/100,000 giving approx. 2,000 new diagnoses each year. Of the 40,000 PWE in Ireland, about 70% are well controlled on medication, with 12-15,000 people in regular contact with secondary/tertiary services. PWE often experience mental health problems & the condition has significant implications for social, vocational & occupational aspirations.

This innovative project demonstrates how a joint approach between staff based in hospital, primary care and the community can work together, to support people with Epilepsy with the management of their condition. The project has is delivering the service virtually due to COVID 19 and provides one-to one appointments, where necessary.

The project is delivering:

- Joint education programmes to 120 People with Epilepsy with follow up one-to-one appointments.

- Conducting research interviews with GPs and people with Epilepsy to gather their views on the concept and content of a patient held “checklist”.

- Training on engagement with Patients With Epilepsy for GPs, using the checklist.

To date, participants are reporting positive outcomes from the intervention:

Outcome: Of those whose evaluations have been analysed - 88% of participants reported an increase in their knowledge about their condition

Outcome: Of those whose evaluations have been analysed - 94% rated their confidence in dealing with their epilepsy as improved.

A second Sláintecare funded initiative is with St. James’s Hospital: Keeping people with severe epilepsy independent

This project is working with epilepsy patients, especially long term homeless people and those with an intellectual disability living in residential care. It will use remote and virtual care working with people with epilepsy in order to help prevent their admission to the hospital.