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Epilepsy nurse specialist halves admissions

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A nurse specialist in childhood epilepsy has cut admissions for the condition by half, research has revealed.

Kirsten Johnson was appointed to work with children with epilepsy and their families at King’s Mill Hospital in Nottinghamshire in 2007.

Since then, the number of admissions for children with epilepsy has fallen from an average of four a month, to just two. Latest data collected by the Sherwood Hospitals Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, shows that Ms Johnson’s involvement with patients increased dramatically in her second year in post, with more than twice as many home visits, ad hoc outpatient clinics, and crucially, telephone consultations.

Ms Johnson said: “I can see children and their families in the hospital or in their home, and I talk to families a lot by phone,” she said.

“This enables me to provide appropriate information and support to each family as they need it.  I also provide education for schools and other childcare facilities, so they can support the children with epilepsy more effectively.”

Every child newly-diagnosed with epilepsy is seen by Ms Johnson, and the aim is that eventually she will consult every child with epilepsy in the hospital’s area. She also sees children who have seizures, but have not been diagnosed with epilepsy.

Consultant paediatrician Colin Dunkley, who works closely with Ms Johnson, said: “This study provides evidence that by having an epilepsy specialist nurse and an epilepsy service, you can make a big difference to the quality of life of sufferers and also free-up other staff in the process.”

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