July 17, 2018

The Efficacy of a Short-Term Multidisciplinary Epilepsy Program

RATIONALE: Epilepsy is more than having seizures. Therefore, specialized epilepsy centers in Germany offer multidisciplinary programs for inpatients with pharmacoresistant epilepsies. This monocentric study evaluated the efficacy of a short-term program that is based on a biopsychosocial model of health and conceptualized by occupational therapists, physical therapists, neuropsychologists, and social workers.

METHODS: Of the 1573 patients treated between 2008 and 2014, 1339 were rated using a 7-tiered predefined category system. Outcome domains are compliance, affect, activity, autonomy, communication, fine motor skills, and mobility. Based on a total score, the patients were classified as impaired, functional, or highly functional. Functionality at baseline and changes after the treatment were analyzed and related to demographics, medical, and neuropsychological data.

RESULTS: At baseline, 80.8% of the patients were rated as impaired according to the total score. Impairments were predominantly observed in the domains affect, autonomy, and communication. A better total score at baseline was significantly related to a better neuropsychological functioning and a lower number of concurrent antiepileptic drugs. After the intervention 50.3% of the patients showed significant improvements regarding the total score. Compliance, activity, and affect were the most responsive domains.

CONCLUSION: This study provides promising results with regard to the efficacy of a short-term multidisciplinary epilepsy program. Positive effects could be achieved referring to compliance, activity, and affect. The findings support the relevance of such programs. Subsequent research should focus on the transfer to everyday life.

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