eGP Australia aims to promote better epilepsy care in general practice.
The site provides links to epilepsy information and referral options, focusing particularly on content that is from Australia and is accessible. Although the site is aimed primarily at GPs in Australia, those in NZ may also find it useful.
Epilepsy fits the Australian Medicare criteria for chronic disease management (CDM). This means that primary care of epilepsy can be supported through Medicare CDM item numbers. eGP provides a specific template for GP care plans using items 721, 723 and 732.
Epilepsy affects about 1% of Australians at any one time, and 3 to 5% of the population at some time during their lifetime. Although specialist care is available throughout Australia the primary health care team is also important. For example, the team can be crucial in recognising possible seizures, making appropriate referrals, and monitoring and educating patients. Primary care teams can also help to reduce disability and improve quality of life in people with epilepsy, through being aware of comorbidities, and recognising potential problems at an early stage (either managing such problems or referring the patient to a specialist).
Mortality rates for people with epilepsy are 2 to 3 times that of the general population. Causes of death include accidents, status epilepticus, suicide, and Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP - something that is not well understood in the medical community). These risks can be reduced by minimising the number of seizures. Educating and supporting patients to achieve that goal requires the participation of the entire health care team, both specialists and those in primary health.
The care of a pregnant woman with epilepsy needs to start well before pregnancy occurs, whilst she is still under the care of a GP. Ongoing team care should include the GP alongside the neurologist and obstetrician. The Australia Epilepsy Pregnancy Register is a significant international data base that can lead to enhanced care for women with epilepsy. It needs the support of GPs but, as yet,it is not well known to those working in primary health care. Links to information on women and epilepsy are provided in eGP.
Poster presented at the WONCA World Rural Health Conference April/May 2017 - read more
Training for practice staff on epilepsy in general practice is available. An example of a training program is outlined here. Please contact Rosey if you wish to arrange local training.
Training for the community and health professionals is also available through Epilepsy Action Australia. For information or to enquire about becoming a licensed epilepsy trainer please follow the links for details.
This site is a work in progress and we welcome your feedback and suggestions to Rosey@epilepsyingeneralpractice.com
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