A feasibility study of a psychoeducational family intervention, "Be Seizure Smart,"
aimed at improving attitudes and increasing family functioning was conducted. The intervention
was individually tailored for each family member by (a) providing information about epilepsy,
treatment, and seizure management according to the individual's knowledge base, (b) addressing
unique concerns and fears, and (c) providing emotional support. Participants were 10 families of
children with epilepsy ages 7 to 13 years. Data were collected about 2 weeks before and after the
intervention, which was delivered over 3 to 4 months, by using structured interviews. One-tailed
paired t tests were used to determine changes from pretest to posttest. Participants also were
asked to evaluate the intervention and make suggestions about how the intervention could better
meet their needs. Results generally indicated that the intervention had the anticipated effects.
Knowledge scores increased for both parents and children. Children had fewer concerns and
were more satisfied with family relationships. Information and support needs decreased for both
children and their parents. Information need reductions were statistically significant for both
parents and children; support need reductions were significantly reduced only for parents.
Although child and parent attitudes were more positive after the intervention, this finding was
not statistically significant.
How feasible is the family seizure management program?
A feasibility study of a family seizure management program: “Be seizure smart”
by Austin, Joan K. McNelis, Angela M. Shore, Cheryl P. Dunn, David W. Musick, Beverly
Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, February 2002
Ten families completed the program; however, data are available on only nine children
with seizures because one child was unable to complete the interview due to a learning
disability. The three girls and six boys, ages 7 to 13 years (mean age 10.6 years), had been
diagnosed with epilepsy for at least two months but less than one year. Eight mothers, one
grandmother (who was the child's primary caregiver), two fathers, and four siblings
participated in the study. For the pre-intervention assessment, parent and child versions of
three instruments were administered to measure (a) general concerns and fears about
epilepsy; (b) general knowledge about seizures, and (c) psychosocial care needs
(information and support). In addition, a scale to measure parent concerns about seizure
management was administered to parents. To measure effects of the intervention,
instruments were administered to parents and children to measure attitudes and family
functioning. All data were collected during telephone interviews. Each item was read
verbatim to each participant. Relative privacy was ensured by doing individual telephone
interviews and having the family members respond to questions by letter or number. All