Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding
The Institute of Medicine IOM was asked to examine the public health dimensions of the epilepsies, focusing on public health surveillance and data collection; population and public health research; health policy, health care, and human services; and education for people with the disorder and their families, health care providers, and the public.
The long awaited report Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding was published by the US Institute of Medicine on 30th March, following a comprehensive study by the Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of the Epilepsies, with experts from many sectors within the field of epilepsy.
This report focuses on the unmet health care needs faced by people with epilepsy and by those who care for them. The recommendations include the need for better information about the epidemiology and consequences of epilepsy. There is also a call for the creation of standards for epilepsy care and for better training for health care professionals at all levels. The Committee found that knowledge in the general medical community about epilepsy, and about how it can destroy lives, was very limited.
The IOM strongly recommends the engagement of people with epilepsy and their families in education, dissemination, and advocacy for improved care and services and calls for better integration and coordination of care as well as enhanced advocacy. Increasing public awareness of epilepsy and its consequences was also an important area for attention.
The report will help efforts to improve epilepsy care in the United States and will undoubtedly be referenced by those in other parts of the world in their advocacy efforts. It follows the approval of the European Declaration on Epilepsy in September 2011 and the adoption of the Strategic Plan on Epilepsy by PAHO earlier this year in a resolution to make epilepsy a healthcare priority.
Click here to read the Institute of Medicines Report: Epilepsy Across the Spectrum or listen to Dr Gary Mathern talk about the significance of its publication.