November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. More than three million Americans of all ages have epilepsy and 30% of those are children. One in ten people will have a seizure at some point, and one in 100 people will develop epilepsy.
The International League Against Epilepsy defines epilepsy as a disease of the brain defined by:
- At least two unprovoked seizures (meaning there isn’t an obvious cause of the seizure, e.g., a high fever) in which the seizures occur less than 24 hours apart
- One unprovoked seizure in a person who has other conditions that often lead to seizures, such as: genetic/metabolic disorders, specific epilepsy syndromes (i.e. Dravet or Lennox Gastaut ) or structural problems of the brain including insufficient oxygen to the brain at birth, trauma or brain injury, developmental brain malformation , infections of the nervous system or stroke.
When a child is diagnosed with epilepsy, it is natural for a flood of worries and emotions to surface. The patient, parents and other family members may experience anxiety, anger, embarrassment, depression and general uncertainty. Families may worry about how epilepsy will affect the child’s relationships and activities. They may also worry about how epilepsy will affect their child’s brain function and the ability to learn, concentrate and memorize. Understanding new medical information, how to care for a child, new routines, missing school/work days and learning emergency interventions may all be overwhelming.
To support the child and family with all of these challenges, Gillette Children Specialty Healthcare’s neurologists, nurse practitioners, dedicated nursing staff, social workers, child life specialists, pharmacists, dieticians, neuropsychologists and child psychologists may all play a role in the epilepsy care team.
Deeply embedded in the history, philosophy and mission of Gillette is the practice of whole-child, family-centered care. At Gillette we have expertise and experience in caring for children with epilepsy across all of these disciplines. Utilizing specialists from all of these disciplines, goals of Gillette’s epilepsy care include:
- To provide skillful management of seizures through medications, dietary therapies, vagus nerve stimulation, and consideration of the need for further surgical treatment.
- To ensure that we provide the necessary support and services to allow children to reach their fullest potential and to foster the overall well-being of children and their families.
In combining multi-specialty expertise with our long standing whole-child, family-centered practice philosophy, we strive to provide the utmost support for children and their families coping with a diagnosis of epilepsy.
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