Epilepsy Specialist Nurses – The Evidence
At Epilepsy Action, we know that epilepsy specialist nurses (ESNs) are brilliant. We hear from people with epilepsy on a daily basis how invaluable ESNs are in their treatment and care.
“Without doubt specialist epilepsy nurses are vital in supporting us to live with our epilepsy. Before I was given a nurse I was isolated and frightened, but now I’m being expertly looked after in between consultant appointments.” Deb Grant
Most epilepsy specialists believe that for epilepsy services to be effective, ESNs are an essential part of the team.
“The ESN improves quality of care through easy access to expert authoritative advice, information and counselling.” Consultant
We know that there are nowhere near enough ESNs to provide a service for everyone with epilepsy.
In the UK, there are over 600,000 people with epilepsy, and Epilepsy Action is only aware of 448 ESNs. This is for adults, children and people with learning disabilities. In comparison, there are currently 245 multiple sclerosis (MS) nurses in the UK for a population of 100,000 people with MS.
One of the reasons for the lack of nurses may be because the people who decide where money should be spent in the NHS do not seem to think that epilepsy care or ESNS are a high priority. They have not seen enough evidence that proves how effective and important ESNs are.
Epilepsy Action commissioned researchers at the University of Sheffield to research the role of ESNs. To do this, they looked at all the evidence that has been published so far and carried out a mapping review. The researchers looked at two things: all of the roles ESNs fulfil and the quality of the evidence. They then produced a diagram (or map) of this information.
We hope that the information will now help those planning local NHS epilepsy services. We also hope the work will encourage further research and more evidence to demonstrate how important ESNs are.
You can also use the tabs near the top of this page to see the ESPENTE report and map.