CPD-Education and self-assessment| Volume 10, ISSUE 8, P615-624, December 2001

The epilepsy nurse specialistexpendable handmaiden or essential colleague?

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      The benefits of a specialist epilepsy nurse in the management of people with epilepsy are still in question. Evidence from controlled clinical trials suggests that patients supported by a nurse specialist are well informed and have a high degree of satisfaction. However, no significant effect on health status or the number of seizures has been yet demonstrated, although this is not the primary function of most epilepsy specialist nurses.
      The recent International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) British Branch meeting in Liverpool (April 2001) dedicated a one-day symposium to epilepsy nursing including a debate on the effectiveness of the epilepsy specialist nursewarm fuzzy feeling or evidence based?'. Although it was agreed that evidence-based research is limited, the case studies and data presented, throughout the symposium, highlighted the varying role of the epilepsy specialist nurse in supporting both the specialist physician in epilepsy care, the non-specialist physician and the primary care physician in patient communication. This paper provides an overview of the presentations given at the symposium, including those on nursing research and publishing.




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