A new specialist nurse’s post dedicated to treating children with epilepsy has been established to serve youngsters in the Clyde area of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC).
The appointment of Paediatric Epilepsy Nurse Specialist Lorraine Simpson means that, for the first time, children and young people in communities in Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde have access to an expert nurse who will not only be a source of information and treatment, but also support.
Lorraine, who was appointed in September, explained that her new role is very in-depth: “Essentially, my job is to act as an advocate for children and adolescents who have – or are suspected of having – epilepsy. That means I can give advice, I can offer information on different treatments and I can be at the end of a phone if they have any questions.
“Patients can range in age from very young children to teenagers. Some of them may not even be diagnosed yet, some will be newly diagnosed and others will have been living with epilepsy for a number of years. Every patient has different needs and having a specialist epilepsy nurse on staff now will, I hope, really improve the service for them.
“Equally important, though, is the fact that I’m there for families too. When your son or daughter has epilepsy, it affects parents and brothers and sisters as well. The whole family can need support and information and that’s where I’m able to help. We want to promote child-focused care that centres on the whole family and makes sure that parents and carers are as well-informed as they can possibly be.”
Patients and families are offered support through written information, home visits and training. Lorraine is based at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley but serves all of the Clyde part of NHSGGC and some communities within the Argyll and Bute part of NHS Highland.
The new Paediatric Epilepsy Nurse Specialist will also act as a resource for other NHSGGC staff. Lorraine said: “A child who has epilepsy might come into contact with lots of health professionals, some of whom might have a specialist interest in epilepsy and others who don’t. I work very closely with a consultant paediatrician with a particular interest in epilepsy and attend her clinics – she refers many of her patients on to our new specialist nurse service. However, any colleagues who are involved with my patients by don’t specialise in epilepsy themselves will be able to use me as a source of information and advice.”
The position is officially known by the title Roald Dahl Sapphire Paediatric Epilepsy Specialist Nurse. It is temporarily funded initially by the Roald Dahl Foundation and Epilepsy Action, and will subsequently be funded by the NHS.
“I’ve only been in post for three months and this is a brand-new position, so clearly it’s early days. But already I’ve had a very positive reaction from patients, parents and other health professionals. My hope is that the service we’re starting here now that I’ve been appointed can develop into a service that will meet all the needs of patients, their families, their schools and nurseries and other health care professionals.”
For more information or for interview requests contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.