How social prescribing helps people with epilepsy

 

Our Chief Executive, Lesslie Young provides information on the concept of social prescribing, which seeks to address people’s individual needs including areas such as mental health and social support.  

The work of those in the NHS is invaluable. Their hard work and dedication never more evident than during the COVID19 crisis.

Those same highly trained professionals diagnose, manage and treat many conditions, including epilepsy as part of their normal work.

Often when someone has a seizure their doctor will refer them to hospital to see a consultant if they think it could be due to epilepsy.

The consultant will ask questions, offer a physical examination and arrange a few tests which may include an EEG and ECG.

Following a diagnosis of epilepsy, the consultant will confirm what kind of seizures the person is having and discuss treatment options with them. The most common treatment is anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).

Many people with epilepsy will have a specialist consultant and be assigned an Epilepsy Specialist Nurse (ESN) who should be in regular contact with them with routine check-up appointments scheduled.

The regularity of this contact is dependent on a few things which include the type and frequency of seizures.

The specialists involved are experienced in prescribing the correct medication or combination of medications to manage a person’s seizures.

But as I have often said, epilepsy is so much more than seizures. It is at this point Epilepsy Scotland is in the perfect position to offer their experience and expertise.

 

Social prescribing

Social prescribing is when health professionals refer people to support in the community, to improve health and wellbeing.

The concept has been gathering support for some time. Not only has Epilepsy Scotland been honing its skills and expertise in this area for a long time, it has been an advocate of this approach for just as long. The concept is not new to us.

This week we have shared with you some of the different ways our experienced team support people with epilepsy taking a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing.

This holistic approach as well as the concept of social prescribing seeks to address people’s individual needs including areas such as mental health and social support.

It can be referred to as the social model of care or a ‘more than medicine’ approach to health and wellbeing, accepting the broader impact of some medical conditions can be improved by lifestyle change.

Social prescription

 

Epilepsy Scotland services

For over 20 years our Youth Project has supported young people, aged 11 to 21, on a one-to-one basis as well as in a group setting.

Living with epilepsy can be difficult. Equally, adolescence can be difficult. Inevitably, dealing with both at the same time may give rise to anxiety, feelings of isolation and other significant emotional responses.

The project aims to connect young people with epilepsy with others who have epilepsy to help that young person feel less alone and overcome any feelings of isolation, low confidence or low self-esteem.

Our Wellbeing Project has been offering support to people struggling with the impact of their epilepsy for over three years with huge success.

The participants benefit from one-to-one sessions with our Wellbeing Workers, a trained counsellor as well as group breathing and relaxation sessions.

The Epilepsy Scotland national, freephone and confidential helpline is available to help with any unanswered questions about the impact epilepsy can have and easing any anxieties around them, or simply to listen.

The NHS, our doctors, nurses and carers are an invaluable support to people with epilepsy, individually and collectively.

However, there is room and a need for further support from charities like Epilepsy Scotland to address the additional needs people may have due to the condition.

With such a sharp focus on health and wellbeing, mental health and the long-lasting impact of life changing conditions in recent months, I am proud to say, Epilepsy Scotland is in a position to provide that support.

The hugely experienced Wellbeing Team, their person-centred approach, tailoring the support to the individual can offer that help.

Of course, we could not do this vital work, or deliver any of our services, without the generosity and support of you, our supporters. Thank you and stay safe.

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