The Provision of Epilepsy Care across Europe

Authors


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. K. Malmgren at Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, Epilepsy Research Group, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, SE-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden. E-mail: kristina.malmgren@neuro.gu.se

Abstract

Summary:  Purpose: To assess the needs and resources available in the provision of basic epilepsy care across Europe.

Methods: A mailed questionnaire was used, the European Epilepsy Services inventory (EESI). The EESI was distributed to all 36 European chapters of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), and answers were obtained from 32, a response rate of 89%. For the purpose of studying trends across Europe, the chapters were divided into a Western, an Eastern, a Central, and a Southern group.

Results: The survey results showed that there was a wide range in the number of physicians and specialists involved in epilepsy care across Europe, with a trend toward higher numbers of neurologists, pediatricians, and pediatric neurologists in Eastern Europe. Many different specialities were involved in epilepsy care, and many chapters reported differences in the provision of care across their countries, with less possibility for patients to see a specialist in the least provided areas, where most epilepsy patients were cared for by general practitioners and internists. Problems with high costs of the newer antiepileptic drugs were most pronounced in Eastern Europe. Problems with lack of comprehensive care and of epilepsy specialists, with stigma and social problems, and with insufficient professional education and knowledge about epilepsy were reported all across Europe.

Conclusions: Knowledge about differences in the pattern of provision of epilepsy care and about the main problems encountered by the European ILAE chapters is of importance in the continuing efforts to improve management of epilepsy all over Europe.

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