Clinical, Sociodemographic, and Psychological Factors Associated with Transition Readiness in Patients with Epilepsy

Brain Sci. 2023 Dec 24;14(1):21. doi: 10.3390/brainsci14010021.


Background: The transition to adult care for patients with epilepsy is a complicated clinical issue associated with adverse outcomes, including non-adherence to treatment, dropout of medical care, and worse prognosis. Moreover, youngsters with epilepsy are notably prone to emotional, psychological, and social difficulties during the transition to adulthood. Transition needs depend on the type of epilepsy and the epileptic syndrome, as well as on the presence of co-morbidities. Having a structured transition program in place is essential to reduce poor health consequences. A key strategy to optimize outcomes involves the use of transition readiness and associated factors assessment to implement the recognition of vulnerability and protective aspects, knowledge, and skills of these patients and their parents. Therefore, this study aims to provide a comprehensive framework of clinical and psychosocial aspects associated with the transition from pediatric to adult medical care of patients with epilepsy.

Methods: Measures examining different aspects of transition readiness and associated clinical, socio-demographic, psychological, and emotional factors were administered to 13 patients with epilepsy (Mage = 22.92, SD = 6.56) with (n = 6) or without (n = 7) rare diseases, and a respective parent (Mage = 56.63, SD = 7.36).

Results: patients showed fewer problems in tracking health issues, appointment keeping, and pharmacological adherence as well as low mood symptoms and moderate resiliency. Moreover, they referred to a low quality of sleep. Notably, parents of patients with rare diseases reported a lower quality of sleep as compared to the other group of parents.

Conclusions: Increasing awareness around transition readiness is essential to promote self-management skills of patients with epilepsy and their parents. Anticipating the period of transition could be beneficial, especially to prevent problematic sleep patterns and promote independence in health care management. Parents of patients with epilepsy and rare diseases should be monitored for their mental status which can affect patients' well-being.

Keywords: epilepsy; parents; psychological; transition readiness.

Grants and funding

This study was partially supported by a grant funded to N.B.M. from AIFA (FARM12PW7R/A6).