Importance of Epilepsy Care in Minimizing the Drowning Risk in Bath

Drowning

Drowning in the bath is a notable cause of accidental death among adults with epilepsy. Nurses in emergency departments and primary care settings can offer advice on safer alternatives.

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Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures. Individuals with epilepsy face a higher rate of premature death compared to the general population, with evidence indicating an increased risk of accidental deaths such as drowning. Effective seizure control and patient education are crucial in mitigating these risks.

However, NHS waiting times are causing significant delays for adults awaiting a neurologist review. Those experiencing seizures often access both emergency and primary care services. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate these services, especially since the latest National Audit of Seizure Management in Hospitals deemed epilepsy care in NHS emergency departments as inadequate.

Experts recommend primary care and emergency department nurses focus on preventing accidental deaths from drowning among adults who experience seizures.

The NHS is currently grappling with several challenges, including extended waiting times for new and routine outpatient appointments. The increased demands of care delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in substantial backlogs and longer waiting times for patients, including those awaiting treatment (NHS England, 2023).

As of January 2023, 7.2 million patients were waiting to start treatment, with 58% having waited up to 18 weeks and 5% over a year. This does not meet the NHS Constitution standard, which stipulates that over 92% of patients on incomplete pathways should start treatment within 18 weeks of referral (NHS England, 2023).

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2022) recommends that all adults suspected of having a first seizure be referred to a clinician with expertise in assessing first seizures and diagnosing epilepsy. This is crucial as it allows a neurologist to discuss initiating epilepsy medication following a confirmed diagnosis. Once epilepsy is diagnosed, NICE (2022) advises that epilepsy medication should be prescribed by a specialist to prevent further seizures.

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