Epilepsy in Ireland: Towards the primary tertiary care continuum
GRIMSON, JANE BARCLAY
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Citation:Jarlath Varley, Norman Delanty, Charles Normand, Imelda Coyne, Louise McQuaid, Claire Collins, Michael Boland, Jane Grimson, Mary Fitzsimons, Epilepsy in Ireland: Towards the primary tertiary care continuum, Seizure, 19, 1, 2010, 47 - 52
Background Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disease affecting people of every age, gender, race and socio-economic background. The diagnosis and optimal management relies on contribution from a number of healthcare disciplines in a variety of healthcare settings. Objective To explore the interface between primary care and specialist epilepsy services in Ireland. Methods Using appreciative inquiry, focus groups were held with healthcare professionals (n = 33) from both primary and tertiary epilepsy specialist services in Ireland. Results There are significant challenges to delivering a consistent high standard of epilepsy care in Ireland. The barriers that were identified are: the stigma of epilepsy, unequal access to care services, insufficient human resources, unclear communication between primary?tertiary services and lack of knowledge. Improving the management of people with epilepsy requires reconfiguration of the primary?tertiary interface and establishing clearly defined roles and formalised clinical pathways. Such initiatives require resources in the form of further education and training and increased usage of information communication technology (ICT). Conclusion Epilepsy services across the primary?tertiary interface can be significantly enhanced through the implementation of a shared model of care underpinned by an electronic patient record (EPR) system and information communication technology (ICT). Better chronic disease management has the potential to halt the progression of epilepsy with ensuing benefits for patients and the healthcare system.
Health Research Board
Keywords:Health policy and services
Electronic patient record