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RNSH sees drop in admissions with new epilepsy service

Royal North Shore Hospital has witnessed a 15 per cent reduction in admissions this year since implementing a non-admitted complex epilepsy service.

Spearheaded by Dr. Tania Farrar, this service extension builds upon the foundation laid by the epilepsy clinic established by Dr Mark Thieben and Dr James Lee in 2022. Aimed at catering to individuals grappling with challenging epilepsy cases or comorbidities (the occurrence of two or more diseases in a person at one time), such as autism or brain injury. This initiative offers accessible advanced epilepsy therapies.

“The ability of the clinic to see patients presenting to the emergency department with seizures within one to two weeks of presentation for follow-up means many of these patients do not require a prolonged hospital admission,” said Dr. Tania Farrar, RNSH neurologist/epileptologist.

 “They can undertake their investigations as an outpatient safely from the comfort of their home with the reassurance they will be seen rapidly for follow-up and treatment if required.  This is particularly helpful for patients who do not manage strange environments well - such as those with autism,” she said.

“We are extremely pleased with these results. The best indication of the success of a service such as this (apart from reduced admissions) is a reduction in the number of seizures a patient is having and the impact their seizures are having on their quality of life, social interactions and ability to participate in the community.” 

Many patients with complex epilepsy have ongoing seizures despite multiple medications. They often require ongoing trials of rarely used medications and other advanced therapies to optimise their seizure control while limiting the side effects they experience.

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