Pilot project of psychological services integrated into a pediatric epilepsy clinic: Psychology Adding Value - Epilepsy Screening (PAVES)

Epilepsy Behav. 2021 Jul:120:107968. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.107968. Epub 2021 May 7.


Rationale: Children and young people with epilepsy (CYPwE) are particularly vulnerable to developing social, emotional, behavioral, and learning difficulties, which, if not identified or addressed at an early stage, can impact adversely on quality of life and long-term psychosocial outcomes. This paper describes the development of a screening protocol and a pathway of early, 'stepped' intervention, which aims to address this issue, together with initial outcomes.

Methods: The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was completed by CYPwE and their parents prior to routine epilepsy clinic appointments. A traffic light system was devised to indicate the reported level of concern and a potential route through the early intervention pathway.

Results: Of those CYPwE screened, 53% were found to be experiencing elevated levels of mental health difficulties, which had not previously been identified, and had the opportunity to access an appropriate early intervention. Initial feedback on the PAVES pathway has been positive, with high levels of feasibility and acceptability indicated by young people, parents, and clinicians.

Conclusions: The PAVES approach enables mental health difficulties to be identified and appropriate intervention accessed at an early stage, potentially improving long-term psychosocial outcomes for CYPwE. In addition, if found to be effective in larger trials, PAVES has potential to be adapted and generalized to other populations.

Keywords: Children and young people; Early intervention; Epilepsy; Mental health; Screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Epilepsy*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Mental Health
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life*