One in 100 people have epilepsy, yet many Ontarians lack access to epilepsy care centres. It’s a situation Epilepsy Ontario has vowed to change. We’re throwing our wholehearted support behind the working groups and panel of epilepsy experts working with the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee to improve epilepsy treatment across the province.
If approved, the Provincial Strategy for Epilepsy Care would make care centres with state-of-the-art facilities accessible province-wide. People living with epilepsy would be able to consult epileptologists (epilepsy specialists), psychologists and social workers to receive the care they need. These professionals are crucial sources of support and guidance to people with epilepsy from newly diagnosed cases and treatment options to long term coping methods and community involvement.
Epilepsy surgery is just one pressing example of the need for accessible care. This treatment has the potential to cure more than 13,000 Ontarians who are unable to control their seizures through drug therapy, according to an OHTAC bulletin released in December 2011. With only three hospitals in the province offering this surgery, fewer than 2 per cent of surgical candidates receive this procedure.
In addition to making standardized treatment accessible to all Ontarians living with epilepsy, the Provincial Strategy strengthens the epilepsy community by allowing people to connect with others who share the same struggles, frustrations and concerns. Medical professionals at epilepsy treatment centres across the province would be able to refer people to their local epilepsy agency.
These are the very goals that is echoed in Epilepsy Ontario’s mission. We are 100 per cent dedicated to improving the quality of life for people living with epilepsy and their loved ones. The Provincial Strategy is a crucial stepping stone bringing us closer to our goal.
A work in progress
On Nov. 8, 2011, OHTAC posted a draft of the Provincial Strategy for Epilepsy Care in Ontario alongside the research and reports of experts in the field. In the ensuing consultation period, which ended on Nov. 30, 2011, the report generated an overwhelmingly positive response. More than 120 submissions from professionals, advocacy groups and the public poured in to show their support for the provincial strategy.
The Provincial Epilepsy Strategy remains in its proposal stage as Health Quality Ontario, OHTAC and epilepsy experts make their final adjustments and deliberations.
Read Epilepsy Ontario’s submissions to the OHTAC
- Response to the OHTAC study with recommendations for improving care
- Accompanying cover letter to the OHTAC
Past articles in Voices of Epilepsy:
- Provincial strategy could create a stronger epilepsy community (July 20, 2012)
- Strategy would bring relief to northern Ontarians living with epilepsy (July 12, 2012)
- Advocate puts a face to the need for epilepsy strategy (June 28, 2012)
- Epilepsy strategy creates ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ (June 22, 2012)
- Epilepsy community encouraged to show support for proposed provincial strategy (June 21, 2012)