Approximately 2.5 million Americans are epileptic, and nearly 150,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. While seizures are the most common physical symptom of epilepsy, treatment must include far more than medical intervention for seizure control. Virtually all aspects of life are affected by the disorder including personal relationships, employment, perception of self and overall quality of life. A literature review indicates that, while progress is being made in identifying variables which impact quality of life, little consensus exists regarding their nature. No two patients are necessarily alike, nor are their methods of dealing with the disorder necessarily the same. Arguments have been posed which state that age of onset is a factor, as is the degree to which seizures can be controlled. This is not to say, however, that effective interventions cannot be developed to assist patients in dealing not only with the physical manifestations of epilepsy but other common related factors as well. The purpose of this study was to identify those variables which impact quality of life for persons with epilepsy, and in light of the findings, to make recommendations for nursing interventions.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Jeanette C. Hartshorn, RN, PhD, FAAN, Associate Dean for Academic Administration, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, School of Nursing, 301 University Boulevard. Route 1029, Galveston. Texas 77555–1029.
Vicki L. Byers, RN, PhD. is an associate professor at Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, Texas.
This study was supported by a grant from the Epilepsy Foundation of America.
© 1994 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses