Managing Epilepsy Well

What is the Managing Epilepsy Well (MEW) Network?

The Managing Epilepsy Well Network (MEW) is a team of people who care about the health of people with epilepsy, their friends and family, and their caregivers. MEW Network Members come from U.S. universities, community-based organizations, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Network Members work together to promote epilepsy self-management research and improve the quality of life for people with epilepsy.

What is epilepsy self-management?

Managing a condition like epilepsy can be complex and frustrating. Sometimes, seizures make it hard to work, go to school, drive, and take part in social activities. Sometimes epilepsy treatment makes these activities harder, too. Self-management skills can help people take control of their health and cope with their day-to-day challenges.

Self-management does not mean that people manage their health alone. Self-management requires an active partnership between a person with epilepsy, their family or friends, and the health care provider. Each one plays an important role in epilepsy self-management.

I have epilepsy. Where can I learn more about self-management?

Self-management is what you do to take care of yourself. You can learn how to manage your epilepsy and have an active and full life.

Begin with these tips:

  • Take your medication as prescribed.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider when you have questions.
  • Recognize and avoid seizure triggers (such as stress), when possible.
  • Keep a record of your seizures and look for patterns, so you can talk about them with your doctor.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise safely.
  • Lower stress.
  • Keep in touch with friends, family, and other people that can help you.

I provide care to people with epilepsy. How can I help people practice self-management?

Medical treatment alone may not always give your patients the relief they’re looking for, or they may have trouble following treatment recommendations.

Self-management programs help participants learn more about their condition and teach them proven skills to improve their ability to manage their health. Self-management programs can help participants:

  • Follow their medication schedule.
  • Reduce their stress or depressive symptoms.
  • Help better communicate with health care providers.

Participants set goals, develop action plans, and learn skills to manage their condition using structured planning and feedback exercises.

A person is much more likely to participate in self-management programs with a recommendation from their healthcare team.

  • Encourage your patients to participate in epilepsy self-management programs.
  • Consider implementing an evidence-based self-management program in your community.

What programs are in the MEW Network?

HOBSCOTCH (Home Based Self-management and Cognitive Training Changes Lives)

A program specifically for adults with epilepsy, HOBSCOTCH can improve memory performance and quality of life in adults with epilepsy who have memory problem. It consists of 2 visits in person at the beginning and the end of the program, and 6 weekly telephone sessions. Participants learn memory skills and strategies, then practice these skills and apply problem-solving techniques in everyday, real-life situations between visits.

PACES in Epilepsy (Program for Active Consumer Engagement in Self-management)

An in-person and phone-based program developed to improve self-management and related health outcomes in adults with epilepsy. The eight weekly meetings cover a wide range of topics that are important to people with epilepsy, including epilepsy and other medical issues; stress and depression; memory and cognition; community participation on a budget; managing care; assertive communication; and improving well-being.

PEARLS (Program to Encourage Active Rewarding Lives)

A home-based treatment program for adults with epilepsy designed to reduce depression and improve quality of life over 6-8 in home, in person sessions.

Project UPLIFT for Epilepsy (Using Practice and Learning to Increase Favorable Thoughts)

An Internet and telephone program using cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness to treat depression in people with epilepsy. It takes place over eight sessions with a trained mental health professional and a peer with epilepsy.

WebEASE (Web Epilepsy Awareness Support and Education)

An Internet self-management program for adults with epilepsy to improve or maintain skills related to adhering to the treatment plan you’ve outlined with your doctor, decrease stress, and improve sleep management.

Where can I get more information about the MEW Network?

For more information about programs in the MEW network, visit or contact Jody Kakacek at 301-918-3722 or via email at

The MEW is funded by the CDC and is supported by special interest project (SIP) 05-07, SIP 07-06, SIP 06-07, SIP 01-08 and SIP 09-11, and Cooperative Agreement Numbers U4 DP000043, U48DP000050, U48DP001901, U48DP001949, 1U48-DP001909.

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Authored Date: 
Monday, October 21, 2013
Reviewed Date: 
Monday, October 21, 2013