Following Catastrophic Epilepsy Patients from Childhood to Adulthood

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As patients with catastrophic epilepsies move from childhood to adulthood, evolving and innovative therapeutic regimens are often required. However, the goal of providing the best quality of life while minimizing both seizures and side effects remains the same. Clinicians can develop appropriate care plans by being aware of patients' changing needs. Clinical symptoms of the catastrophic epilepsies may change over time; by understanding the natural history of a patient's condition, clinicians can help ease the transition from childhood to adulthood. Additionally, as children with catastrophic epilepsies become adults, medical issues (e.g., medication side effects, tolerance, and dependence) and nonmedical issues (e.g., guardian/caretaker issue, group home applications, and respite care options) must be considered when developing strategies for patient care. Regular assessment of patients, the development of emergency plans, and maintenance of consistency in the delivery of care are also important issues to consider. Finally, a multidisciplinary care plan that incorporates resources from health-care practitioners, social service professionals, and community agencies can be valuable in optimizing treatment for patients with catastrophic epilepsies.

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