An important step to achieving seizure freedom is making sure you get the best quality care possible, at the right time.
Elements of quality care include:
- Early, accurate identification of your types of seizures, epilepsy, and any associated or other conditions.
- Getting the best, right treatment. If you are not seizure free after one year of treatment, or after two failed medications, this means seeking out an epilepsy specialist or epilepsy center.
- Building a solid and valuable relationship with your health care team.
Your health care provider should:
- Ask at each visit how many different types of seizures you have and how often you have each type. If you are not seizure free, your health care provider should discuss a change in treatment to improve seizure control or why a treatment change is not indicated or needed.
- Ask at each visit whether you have any medication side effects and then takes steps or actions to improve them.
- Review at each visit the cause of your epilepsy or the name of your epilepsy syndrome, unless the cause is unknown.
- Discuss each year seizure safety that is relevant to your type of seizures, your age, and other circumstances.
- Ask about depression, developmental problems, or similar problems at each visit.
- Consider referring you to an epilepsy center if you have had persistent seizures in the past two years, despite trying at least two anti-seizure medications.
- Discuss the effects of seizure medication on pregnancy each year if you are a woman who could get pregnant.
If You Still Are Having Seizures
When seizures are difficult to diagnose or seizure medicines are not working to stop seizures, talk to your doctor or treating health care provider.
- Seeing an epilepsy specialist or having an evaluation at an epilepsy center can help you explore other treatment options, such as surgery, devices, dietary therapy, new or add-on seizure medications, or a clinical trial.
- Seeing a neurologist or epilepsy specialist may be needed.
- Having tests like an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan to look at the brain and EEG (electroencephalogram) tests to record the electrical activity of the brain are very helpful to diagnose types of seizures and epilepsy properly.
- Keep asking questions so you get the right tests and right treatment for your type of seizures and epilepsy.
The Institute of Medicine says that quality health care should be:
- Safe – Avoiding injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them
- Effective – Providing services based on scientific knowledge to all who could benefit and refraining from providing services to those not likely to benefit (avoiding underuse and overuse, respectively)
- Patient-centered – Providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions
- Timely – Reducing waits and sometimes harmful delays for both those who receive and those who give care
- Efficient – Avoiding waste, including waste of equipment, supplies, ideas, and energy
- Equitable – Providing care that does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and socioeconomic status
- Report Brief for "Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding." Institute of Medicine, March 2012.