By Deron Hamel
Epilepsy Ontario is calling on the Ministry of Health to increase core funding to epilepsy agencies across the province to enhance education and supports to help people living with seizure disorders manage their condition while saving the province money by reducing hospital visits.
The organization is launching an e-letter campaign and asking people living with epilepsy and their families to sign their names to show support for the initiative.
Educational programs provided by epilepsy support agencies are not funded by the government. A large focus of these programs is to help people recently diagnosed with epilepsy and their families manage the condition.
For example, one of the things people learn through these programs is when to go to hospital and when not to following a seizure.
Educational sessions provided by Epilepsy Ontario train people who have been recently diagnosed with epilepsy and their families to learn when it’s necessary to call 9-1-1 and when it’s not.
When people have this knowledge, visits to emergency rooms decline, notes Drew Woodley, Epilepsy Ontario’s director of government relations.
“Those kinds of improvements to the health-care system can more than pay for the cost of funding these programs,” he tells Voices of Epilepsy.
“Since some areas of Ontario don’t have local epilepsy support agencies, this funding would (also) allow us to increase the overall level of service across the province, if the Ministry of Heath were to finance it.”
As we slowly begin to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health-care system is backed up by more than a year due to many procedures being delayed for the past 15 months.
As a result, the timing is right for the province to fund an initiative to reduce hospital visits, Woodley says.
“Anything the Ministry of Health can do to relieve pressure on hospitals is going to be that much more beneficial to the overall health-care system,” he says.
“Epilepsy educational programs can be a part of that approach. You are relieving pressure on hospitals and you’re providing people with epilepsy with the tools they need to better manage living with seizures.”
Click here to sign your name to the e-letter.