Epilepsy, like other chronic medical conditions, leaves affected individuals feeling out of control and isolated, says Shelly Stoll, MPH, of the University of Michigan.
Ms. Stoll, along with colleagues at the university and the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, developed a program for individuals with epilepsy (IWE) to improve their self-care.
The researchers conducted a pilot study of their intervention and presented the results at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society in Baltimore, Md.
The 21 study participants were epilepsy patients aged 21 years and older. They completed telephone interviews at baseline and four months after completing the 6-week intervention.
The FOCUS intervention includes five elements:
-Figure out the problem or issue.
-Observe your routine.
-Choose a change goal.
-Undertake a change strategy.
-Study the results and select a reward.
The intervention included a day-long workshop followed by weekly telephone calls with a coach, some of which were conference calls with other patients.
Although this intervention didn’t reduce the frequency of seizures, the patients showed significant improvement from baseline in terms of quality of life and positive well-being.
The researchers admitted that the study is small and the findings preliminary, but the results merit a larger study with a longer time frame. Ideally, patients who participated in this study will continue to benefit. The researchers quoted one satisfied patient, who said, “I plan to keep moving forward, empowering and taking my life into my hands regardless of how epilepsy has tried to conquer me.”
–Heidi Splete (On Twitter @hsplete)