Setting Goals for Seizure Management


Setting goals is a key step in taking charge of your care.

For most people with epilepsy, the number one goal is to get rid of seizures, or at least have fewer seizures. But epilepsy can also affect your quality of life, and your family’s, in many ways. Sometimes, this causes more problems than the seizures themselves!

Your goals may be different from someone else's, depending on what’s most important to you. To start setting goals, answer the following questions and share them with your health care team. Doing this can help you and your team decide what treatments to try, or what other help you may need.

Start by asking yourself the following questions. They’ll help you figure out your goals for seizure management.

  • How important is it for me to have no seizures at all?
  • How important is it for me to have no side effects of treatment?
  • What things would I like to change in my daily life? (For example, you might want to get a job, drive a car, go to school, feel less depressed, or remember things more easily.)
  • What things would I like to change in my family’s life? (For example, you might want to feel less dependent, be less of a “burden,” have your family worry less, or have lower health care expenses.)

Once you have listed some goals, pick at least 3 goals that you want to start working on now. To help yourself succeed, ask yourself these questions about your goals:

  • Is my goal specific? What’s the specific thing I want to achieve?
  • Is my goal measurable? How can I measure my progress?
  • Is my goal achievable? Do I have what I need to do it at this time?
  • Is my goal realistic?
  • Is my goal time-based? Can I set a timeframe for myself to work on this?

Here’s an example of a goal to manage medicines better. You might say: “Over the next 6 months, I will change how I take my medicines so I won’t have more seizures than usual from missing doses.” You can start working on this goal now because it’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based.

Here’s an example of what you might write down about this goal:

  • This goal is specific – I want to have fewer seizures! Especially none that I could prevent by doing a better job with my medicines.
  • This goal is measurable – I can track my seizures using my epilepsy diary. I’ll note whether I’ve missed any medicines when I have a seizure. I can track other triggers too, to help me figure out other things I can do.
  • This goal is achievable – I have everything I need to do it, I just need to make a plan to prevent missing medicines. My health care team can help me do this.
  • This goal is realistic – It’s a very real goal. Missing medicines is one of the most common reasons for breakthrough seizures. I know I have seizures even when I take all my medicines, but I have seizures more often and they are more severe if I don’t take my medicines regularly. It may be hard to do, but it’s realistic to achieve.
  • This goal is time-based – I’ve put a timeframe on this to make me do it. I’ve allowed myself 6 months to get this under control. This will give me time to track my seizures for a few months and find out how often I miss medicines and why. Then I can make some changes, like using a pillbox, setting my smartphone to ring when it’s time for my pills, and having my diary send me text messages. Then I’ll track my seizures for a few months and see how I’ve done!

Authored By:

Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN

Reviewed By:

Joseph I. Sirven MD


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