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Epilepsy nurse nominated for Bristol care award

Epilepsy nurse Helen Hodgson has been nominated for the Bristol Post's first ever Health and Care Awards.

The 53-year-old was put forward for the health care professional of the year category by an anonymous patient.

They said: "Helen is one of a kind. She's a very supportive, kind, compassionate and knowledgeable nurse in epilepsy.

"She needs to be acknowledged for the care she gives to patients in Bristol, who have epilepsy. She's a very special lady.

Helen works at Southmead Hospital supporting more than 4,000 patients in the area and dedicates her spare time to chairing a local support group for people with epilepsy.

In the 15 years she has worked in the industry Helen said people's perceptions towards epilepsy have changed dramatically.

"It used to thought of as a mental health issue," she said. "There has been a lot of work carried out to understand the condition."

One of Helen's main jobs is to reassure patients when they are first diagnosed and help them find suitable medication to control their seizures.

"It has huge implications for their life and it can be very frightening for people," she said. "People aren't allowed to drive, so if their job relies on driving, it could be a huge change for them.

"My message is always you have epilepsy but it doesn't define who you are. Some people can become isolated and worry about going out, in case they do have a seizure. I try and encourage people to carry on doing all things they would have done normally.

"It's about living life to the full but also keeping safe."