Cochrane Review: Care delivery and self-management strategies for children with epilepsy




Epilepsy care for children has been criticised for its lack of impact. Various service models and strategies have been developed in response to perceived inadequacies in care provision for children and their families.


We set out to compare the effectiveness of specialist or dedicated teams or individuals in the care of children with epilepsy with usual care services.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library February issue, 2010), MEDLINE (1950 to March 2010), EMBASE (1988 to May 2006*), PsycINFO (1806 to March 2010) and CINAHL (1982 to March 2010).

*Please note that as we currently do not have access to EMBASE, we have been unable to update this aspect of our searching.

Selection criteria

We included randomised controlled trials, controlled or matched trials, cohort studies or other prospective studies with a control group, or time series studies.

Data collection and analysis

Each review author independently selected studies, extracted data and assessed the quality of included studies.

Main results

Four trials and five reports are included in this review. They report on four different education and counselling programmes for children, children and parents, or teenagers and parents. Each programme showed some benefits for the well-being of children with epilepsy, but each trial had methodological flaws and no single programme was evaluated by more than one study.

Authors' conclusions

While each of the programmes in this review showed some benefit to children with epilepsy their impacts were extremely variable. No programme showed benefits across the full range of outcomes. No study appears to have demonstrated any detrimental effects but the evidence in favour of any single programme is insufficient to make it possible to recommend one programme rather than another. More trials, carried out by independent research teams, are needed.

Plain Language Summary

Care delivery and self-management strategies for children with epilepsy

Evidence for the best ways to care for children with epilepsy is still unclear.

This review compared four education- or counselling-based interventions for children with epilepsy. One intervention was aimed solely at children, two were aimed at children and their parents, the final intervention was aimed at teenagers and their parents. Each of the interventions appeared to improve some of the outcomes studied, but no intervention improved all of the outcomes that were measured. The studies also had problems with their methods, which makes their results less reliable. While none of the interventions caused any harm, their impact was limited and we cannot recommend any single intervention as being the best one for children with epilepsy.