ASSESSMENT OF KNOWLEDGE OF EPILEPSY IN EPILEPTIC PATIENTS ATTENDING A TERTIARY CARE CENTRE IN KERALA, INDIA
Keywords:Assessment, Knowledge of epilepsy, Questionnaire method
Objective: Patient's knowledge of his/her disease plays a vital role in epilepsy care. Studies assessing epileptic patient's knowledge of epilepsy have not been done in the state of Kerala, South India, which is distinguished from the rest of India by the high level of literacy and health awareness. The study results can lead to suggestions for appropriate intervention strategies for epileptic patients.
Methods: A prospective, observational study was carried out in the department of neurology at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi, Kerala, India. Newly referred patients fulfilling the inclusion and exclusion criteria were enrolled in the study. A 15-item validated questionnaire was used to assess patient's awareness of epilepsy, safety aspects, social issues and treatment.
Results: 105 epileptic patients with a mean age of 34.4Â±14.66 years were enrolled in the study. A high percentage of correct responses were observed in relation to epilepsy as not a mental (74.4%), hereditary (74.3%) or contagious disease (95.2%). Encouraging responses were also obtained regarding confidence in leading a married life (77.1%), overall capability of epileptic patients compared to others (77.1%) and the possibility of epilepsy being controlled with treatment (83.8%). Correct responses on safety issues (40.9%), first aid measures (12.3%), driving (31.4%) and swimming (29.5%) were poor. 47.6% of patients feared from the side effects of anti-epileptic drug treatment and only 3.8% were knowledgeable about epilepsy treatment options other than that with medications.
Conclusion: The patients in our study had a basic understanding of epilepsy, but knowledge in terms of safety measures, social issues and treatment options were poor. Educational interventions by health care professionals should focus on these facets of epilepsy apart from the general aspects.
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