The health, education, and social care costs of school-aged children with active epilepsy: A population-based study

Epilepsia. 2015 Jul;56(7):1056-64. doi: 10.1111/epi.13015. Epub 2015 Jun 3.


Objective: To provide data on the health, social care, and education costs of active childhood epilepsy and factors associated with these costs over an 18-month period in a population-based sample.

Methods: The Children with Epilepsy in Sussex Schools (CHESS) study is a population-based study involving school-aged children (5-15 years) with active epilepsy (taking one or more antiepileptic drug and/or had a seizure in the last year) in a defined geographical area in England. Clinical data were collected on 85 children (74% of eligible population) who underwent comprehensive psychological assessment. Health, education, and social care resource use was collected retrospectively over an 18-month period. Regression analysis was used to identify variables associated these with costs.

Results: The mean (standard deviation) 18-month cost of health care for a child with active epilepsy was £3,635 (£5,339), with mean education and social care cost of £11,552 (£8,937) and £1,742 (£8,158), respectively, resulting in total mean costs per participant of £16,931 (£14,764). Health care costs were significantly associated with seizure frequency and etiology (all p-values < 0.05). Combined health care, social care, and education costs were significantly related to cognitive impairment (intelligence quotient [IQ] <85) and seizure frequency (p < 0.05). The mean cost of health care, social care, and education over 18 months for participants with cognitive impairment was £23,579 (95% confidence interval [CI] £16,489-£30,670) compared to £7,785 (95% CI £4,943-£10,627) for those without impairment.

Significance: Active childhood epilepsy has significant health, social care, and education costs. This is the first study to comprehensively document the economic impact on these sectors as well as factors associated with these costs. When caring for children with epilepsy in England, costs incurred by education and social care sectors are approximately four times the costs incurred by the health care sector. Increased costs were associated with cognitive impairment (IQ <85) and weekly or greater seizure frequency.

Keywords: Cognition; Economic; Education; Health; Social care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Education / economics*
  • Epilepsy / economics*
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy / therapy
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs* / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance* / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sociological Factors*
  • Students*