New nurse providing vital support for people with epilepsy

A new nurse, who has a wealth of experience caring for patients with brain injuries, has taken on a new role at Grimsby hospital.

Natasha Garnett, epilepsy clinical nurse specialist, with Dr Jayam Lazarus

Natasha Garnett is the new epilepsy clinical nurse specialist working alongside neurologist Dr Jayam Lazarus in providing care for hundreds of local patients.

Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain and means people diagnosed with it have a tendency to have epileptic seizures. It is one of the most common serious neurological conditions in the world affecting around 600,000 people in the UK. This means that almost one in 100 people in the UK have epilepsy.

It can start at any age and there are many different types of seizures depending on which part of the brain is affected. During some types of seizure the person may remain alert and aware of what’s going on around them, and with other types they may lose awareness. They may have unusual sensations, feelings or movements. Or they may go stiff, fall to the floor and jerk.

Natasha, who is no stranger to the hospital having previously worked as a rheumatology clinical specialist nurse and as a senior nurse at Goole Neuro Rehabilitation Centre, said: “I have always been absolutely fascinated in how the brain works. I started my career in neuro rehabilitation in Leeds before moving to this Trust.

“In this new role I play a key role in working alongside patients in empowering and helping them to manage their condition and live as normal a life as possible through appropriate medication and symptom management.

“As well as supporting Dr Lazarus in his clinic, I will also eventually run my own nurse-led clinic, offer ward support, work in the community and offer a telephone support service.”
Natasha aims to:

• Support people with newly diagnosed epilepsy as well as those with an established condition to live rather than suffer from the condition
• To prevent avoidable hospital attendance/admissions
• Guide patients through their pathway of care and be responsive to their changing needs.
• Offer Vagus nerve stimulation treatment for patients who have not responded well to other treatment/other treatment is not suitable for them, to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures
• Run an education programme of ‘Living with Epilepsy’ for patients and their carers to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

She said: “Epilepsy can be an isolating condition with people too scared and embarrassed to go out on their own. They worry they may have a seizure when they are out and about.”
Natasha is on hand to help patients’ achieve good management and control of their symptoms, as well as provide a wealth of information such as lifestyle choices, medicine management and driving regulations.

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