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Children with epilepsy may not receive timely medication in community settings

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Children with epilepsy who experience seizures may not always receive timely rescue medication in community settings, according to research by the PERFECT Initiative.

Its study concluded that, in many cases, this is because rescue medication consists of intra-rectal diazepam, which can be considered 'socially inappropriate' to administer in the community.

Whether a child receives rescue medication at school depends primarily on the availability of staff willing to accept responsibility for administering the treatment.

In the UK, the 2012 NICE guidelines state teachers, parents and other non-healthcare professionals may administer rescue medication to children, as long as they are doing so in accordance with a written protocol and have received dedicated training with regard to the rescue medication being given to the child. But the study found guidelines did not transition to the community.

The steering committee for the PERFECT initiative comprises clinical epilepsy specialists from six countries across Europe. This first phase of the initiative was designed to examine existing treatment guidelines and legal frameworks and policies for treating prolonged, acute, convulsive seizures in the community, in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Recommendations include establishing links between the treating physician, families and the child's day-to-day community environment (e.g schools); allowing for better provision of information on epilepsy and training on seizure intervention for all those individuals responsible for the child; revised guidelines to ensure children seizures are treated according to the treatment plan set by their physician; and treatment plans for every child established between the physician and the family/carers concerned, to help ensure the best standards of care for the child away from hospital.

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