Indexed on: 20 Sep '08Published on: 20 Sep '08Published in: Epilepsy Research
Case management (CM) has been shown to improve the medical care of patients in several paradigms of general medicine. This study was undertaken to assess the impact of CM on low-income patients with epilepsy.From 2002 to 2003, 737 epilepsy patients had CM provided by a non-profit, state-supported, epilepsy service subserving a four county region in southeastern Florida. Standardized survey forms distributed by the Florida Department of Health were completed by 159 consecutive patients at program admission. Follow-up information regarding seizure frequency, antiepileptic drugs, and quality of life self-rating was performed after 1 year of CM.The patients evaluated were composed of 58.5% men, with a mean age of 41.0 years. After CM, an increase in self-reported seizure control was seen in 40.2% of patients (p<0.0001, Fisher's exact test), in addition to a shift in the principal utilization of the older to the newer antiepileptic drugs. Furthermore, the total number of emergency department (ED) visits was reduced by 90% with a mean reduction of ED visits per patient from 1.83 per patient per year before CM to 0.14 per patient per year after CM (p<0.0001, Wilcoxon matched-pairs test). Following CM, fewer patients reported difficulty with friends, employers, problems socializing, and feelings of anger (p<0.05, Fisher's exact test).CM of low-income patients with epilepsy resulted in self-reported improvement in seizure control, QoL, and significantly reduced ED visitation. CM in epilepsy is feasible and represents a cost-effective improvement in outpatient epilepsy management.