Epilepsy Specialist Nurse, Gareth Davison explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected epilepsy services in Scotland and what services will look like post pandemic.
In what ways has the COVID-19 pandemic affected epilepsy services in Scotland?
Like the NHS as a whole, services have had to adapt to manage the restrictions of the pandemic, minimising face to face contacts during lockdown periods and providing alternative platforms to support people with epilepsy.
What challenges have you faced providing epilepsy services during the COVID pandemic?
Changing from face-face contacts to providing support exclusively via telephone or NHS Attend Anywhere platform.
In your experience as an epilepsy specialist nurse how has the pandemic affected people with epilepsy?
Overall, people have coped very well, however covid restrictions, isolation from everyday support networks, colleagues, friends and family members has added additional challenges.
What is the future for epilepsy services in Scotland? For example, do you feel that online consultations will be something we will see more of post COVID?
Yes. Epilepsy nurses already provide a lot of support via telephone and I believe online consultations are useful for some people, whilst others much prefer face-to-face contact.
I think there is a role for both in the future but believe there will always be a place for face-to-face contact in building and sustaining good relationships.
What lessons have been learned during the COVID pandemic, which will help improve epilepsy services in Scotland?
The flexibility in approach to supporting people with epilepsy, enabling some people to engage via platforms like Attend Anywhere and providing more choice about how they might access a service.
What would you say to someone who has been newly diagnosed with epilepsy or is struggling to cope with their epilepsy due to the pandemic?
Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with your local epilepsy nurse, Neurology service, GP, and organisations like Epilepsy Scotland who can provide much support and direct you to the appropriate service.