Recently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its report, Epilepsy across the Spectrum. The report highlights numerous gaps in the knowledge and management of epilepsy and recommends actions for improving the lives of those with epilepsy and their families, while promoting a better understanding of the disorder. It also brings to light that at least 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime, and prevalence may be increasing.
The Epilepsy Foundation applauds this landmark report that acknowledges the long-overdue examination of the public health burden of epilepsy, including:
- A better collection of comprehensive data to gain a more complete understanding of the public health burden of the epilepsies
- Improved access to patient-centered care that meets the complex range of physiological, psychological, cognitive and social needs of people living with epilepsy
- Better access to community resources and quality of life for people and families living with epilepsy; and
- A strategic health focus on studies that will lead to better treatment options, including preventions.
This is a huge step forward for the Epilepsy Community. The Foundation is encouraged to find that epilepsy, which is so often misunderstood and misrepresented in the public discourse, is finally being examined, analyzed and reported on in a way that will intensify our collective work. These findings also make a strong case for the government to considerably expand its recognition and response to the public health burden of epilepsy.
The Epilepsy Foundation of America is carefully reviewing the findings of this report and its recommendations, and are optimistic that all organizations committed to making life better for people with epilepsy, both in the private and public sector, will galvanize across all disciplines with one goal in mind: to effectively and strategically respond to the real and immediate needs of people with epilepsy and their families and to ensure the best information, care and understanding of the condition are being implemented and portrayed, both to the general public and health care practitioners.