A new study which looked at the working relationship between HSE Epilepsy Nurse Specialists and Epilepsy Ireland’s Community Resource Officers in delivering patient-centred care for people with epilepsy in Ireland has recently been published in the Journal of Interprofessional Care.
The study used a participatory action research (PAR) approach and featured collaboration between FutureNeuro, Royal College of Surgeons, NUI Maynooth, St. James’ Hospital & DCU.
Participatory action research involves researchers and participants working together to understand a problematic situation and change it for the better – in this case, the study was seeking to establish a better pathway of integrated care for people with epilepsy.
Researchers investigated the nature and extent of collaborative practice between Epilepsy Nurse Specialists and our Community Resource Officers and how this influenced ‘integrated’ or ‘patient-centred care’. Six ESNs and four CROs took part in the project.
The research allowed CRO’s and ESN’s to meet together in order to discuss each other’s roles to gain a better of understanding of their respective work and allowed them to consider ways in which they could work better together.
A series of meetings were held over a ten-month period and while underdeveloped relationships were evident at the beginning, giving rise to missed opportunities for optimal patient care, by the end of the process, stronger relationships were developing and collaborative practice was being explored to make the most of the finite resources available.
The further development of the relationship between CRO’s and ESN’s and indeed, the wider relationship between Epilepsy Ireland and the HSE services is something that we are constantly looking to improve and develop further. Funding we have recently received under the SláinteCare Integration Fund will be invested in seeking to improve these existing relationships even further for the benefit of people with epilepsy.
We will continue to work with medical professionals, the Department of Health, the HSE and all relevant bodies in order to continue to improve epilepsy services in Ireland.
We would like to thank all our Community Resource Officers and the Epilpesy Nurses Specialists who took part in this vital study. Without these insights and the dedication of the researchers who worked on the study, we would not be able to work to improve services for people with epilepsy and their families.
The study in full featured in the Journal of Interprofessional Care can be found here.