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ProfessionPossible Roles in Caring for People with EpilepsyRelevant Certifying Boards and Professional Organizations
Medical Physicians
Child and adolescent psychiatristsSimilar care as adult psychiatrists (described below), but focused on children and adolescents and their specific needs
  • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • American Psychiatric Association
Critical care specialists or intensivistsCritical care services, such as life-support or organ-support systems in acute care settings, which may be relevant for people with epilepsy in life-threatening situations or those who have serious comorbidities or seizure etiologies, such as brain tumors or stroke
  • American Board of Anesthesiology
  • American Board of Emergency Medicine
  • American Board of Internal Medicine
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • Society of Critical Care Medicine
  • See also boards and associations listed for emergency physicians
Emergency physicians
  • Diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of new-onset seizures if a patient visits the emergency department
  • Diagnosis, assessment, and treatment for epilepsy-related emergencies, including status epilepticus and seizure-related injuries
  • Non-epilepsy-related emergency situations for people with epilepsy
  • Referrals to follow-up and other health services
  • Initial patient and family education and counseling
  • American Academy of Emergency Medicine
  • American Board of Emergency Medicine
  • American College of Emergency Physicians
  • Emergency Medicine Residents Association
  • Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
Epileptologists
  • Diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and management of epilepsy, often difficult or refractory cases
  • Patient and family education and counseling
  • Referrals to health and human services
  • Care primarily for people with epilepsy and are often affiliated with an epilepsy center
  • American Academy of Neurology
  • American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • American Clinical Neurophysiology Society
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • American Neurological Association
Family physicians
  • Often first point of contact with the health care system
  • Diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and management of epilepsy
  • Referrals to specialists and other health and human services
  • Coordination of care, monitoring of general health status
  • Patient and family education and counseling
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Board of Family Medicine
General pediatriciansSimilar care as family physicians (described above) and internists, but focused on children and adolescents and their specific needs
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Board of Pediatrics
General surgeons
  • General surgical procedures and care, usually not epilepsy related in nature
  • Vagus nerve stimulation implants and maintenance
  • American Board of Surgery
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Society of General Surgeons
GeriatriciansSimilar care as family physicians (described above) and internists, but focused on older adults and their specific needs
  • American Board of Family Medicine
  • American Board of Internal Medicine
  • American Geriatrics Society
Hospitalists
  • Attending physicians for hospital inpatients
  • Diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and management of epilepsy in the inpatient setting
  • Referral to specialists and other health and human services
  • Coordination with patients' usual care providers
  • American Board of Family Medicine
  • American Board of Internal Medicine
  • American Board of Pediatrics
  • Society of Hospital Medicine
InternistsSee description of family physician above
  • American Board of Internal Medicine
  • American College of Physicians
  • Society of General Internal Medicine
Neurologists
  • Diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and management of epilepsy
  • Patient and family education and counseling
  • Referrals to other health and human services
  • Also provision of care for patients with a wide array of neurological conditions beyond epilepsy
  • American Academy of Neurology
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • American Neurological Association
Neurosurgeons
  • Epilepsy-related surgeries, pre- and post-surgery care, determination of surgery candidacy
  • Referral to specialists and other health and human services
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • American Board of Neurological Surgery
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • Congress of Neurological Surgeons
  • Society of Neurological Surgeons
Obstetrician-gynecologists
  • Possible role as primary care provider for women
  • Preventive care, diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and management of conditions of the female reproductive system, including care that takes into account the specific needs and concerns of women with epilepsy related to reproductive health, pregnancy, and the use of seizure medications
  • Referrals to specialists and other health and human services
  • Patient and family education and counseling
  • American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists
Osteopathic physicians
  • Similar care as family physicians (described above) and internists when practicing as primary care physicians
  • 60 percent fill primary care roles, but the other 40 percent specialize and subspecialize in areas such as neurology, psychiatry, and pediatrics
  • American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians
  • American College of Osteopathic Internists
  • American Osteopathic Association
  • American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians
  • American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine
  • American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry
  • American Osteopathic Board of Pediatrics
Pediatric neurologistsSimilar care as adult neurologists (described above), but focused on children and adolescents and their specific needs
  • American Academy of Neurology
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • American Neurological Association
  • Child Neurology Society
Physical and rehabilitation medicine
  • Diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and management of physical disabilities and limitations, which could be the result of a seizure, a seizure-related injury, or a comorbidity
  • Referral to specialists and other health and human services
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • American Pain Society
  • Association of Academic Physiatrists
Psychiatrists
  • Diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and management of comorbid mental health conditions in patients with epilepsy
  • Treatment and management of patients with seizure-like events with a psychological basis
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • American Psychiatric Association
Radiologists or neuroradiologists
  • Neuroimaging services that aid in diagnosis, treatment, and determination of candidacy for epilepsy-related surgery
  • American Board of Radiology
  • American College of Radiology
  • Radiological Society of America
Nurses
Licensed practical or vocational nurses (LPNs, LVNs)
  • Basic nursing care, including monitoring vital signs, performing ordered treatments (e.g., dressing changes), and dispensing medications in many states (IOM, 2011)
  • Possible employment in long-term care and home health and in physicians' offices; LPNs and LVNs may encounter people with epilepsy and their families in those settings
  • National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service
  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing
  • National Federation Licensed Practical Nurses Association
  • Many states have associations for LPNs or LVNs as well
Neuroscience nursesSimilar care as registered nurses (described below), as well as diagnosis and treatment of patients with disorders and conditions related to the nervous system, such as epilepsy
  • American Association of Neuroscience Nurses
  • American Board of Neuroscience Nursing
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • Association of Child Neurology Nurses
  • See also organizations included below for registered nurses
Nurse practitioners
  • An advanced practice registered nurse who often provides primary care services
  • Scopes of practice vary by state (IOM, 2011)
  • Provision of a wide spectrum of health care services, including physical examinations, health assessments, and diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic conditions, such as epilepsy
  • Patient and family education, counseling, and instruction in self-management
  • Referrals to specialists and other health and human services
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
  • American College of Nurse Practitioners
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • American Nurses Association
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • National League for Nursing
  • Many states have associations for nurse practitioners as well
Nursing aides or certified nursing assistants
  • Similar care as direct care workers (described below), including providing assistance with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and moving patients
  • Possible employment in home health care and long-term care facilities; they may encounter people with epilepsy and their families in those settings
  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing
  • National Network of Career Nursing Assistants
  • Many states have associations for nursing assistants
Registered nurses
  • Provision of holistic, patient-centered care, including health assessment and monitoring, administration of prescribed treatments and medications, and care coordination
  • Patient and family education, counseling, and instruction in self-management
  • Employment in virtually all health care and residential settings, including emergency departments, inpatient units, outpatient departments, clinics, schools, public health departments, group homes, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and workplaces; registered nurses may encounter people with epilepsy and their families in those settings
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • American Nurses Association
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing
  • National League for Nursing
  • Many states have associations for nursing as well
School nurses
  • Assessment of student health
  • Education of students and their families
  • Referrals to available services and resources, especially those in the community
  • Administration of medication, including seizure medications and emergency medications, such as diazepam
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • National Association of School Nurses
  • National Board for Certification of School Nurses
  • See also organizations included above for registered nurses
Examples of Other Health Professionals
Clinical health psychologists
  • Provision of support for rehabilitation of illness, injury, and disability by applying and understanding how biological, psychological, and social factors affect health and illnesses and disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Possible provision of care in comprehensive epilepsy centers, hospitals and clinics, community mental health settings, or private practice
  • American Board of Clinical Health Psychology
  • American Board of Professional Psychology
  • American Psychological Association, Division of Health Psychology
  • Counsel of Specialties in Professional Psychology
Clinical psychologists
  • Assessment and treatment of a wide range of mental health conditions, including mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, which may include comorbid conditions of epilepsy
  • Possible provision of care in comprehensive epilepsy centers, hospitals and clinics, community mental health settings, or private practice
  • American Academy of Clinical Psychology
  • American Board of Clinical Psychology
  • American Board of Professional Psychology
  • American Psychological Association, Society of Clinical Psychology
  • Counsel of Specialties in Professional Psychology
Counseling psychologists
  • Provision of counseling services to individuals and groups for a range of emotional, behavioral, and mental health conditions, which may include comorbid conditions of epilepsy
  • Possible provision of care in comprehensive epilepsy centers, hospitals and clinics, community mental health settings, or private practice
  • American Board of Counseling Psychology
  • American Psychological Association, Society of Counseling Psychology
  • Counsel of Specialties in Professional Psychology
Counselors
  • This profession includes a wide range of specialties that are relevant to the health and well-being of people with epilepsy and their families, including mental health counselors, rehabilitation or vocational counselors, school counselors, genetic counselors, gerontological counselors, marriage and family counselors, and substance abuse or addiction counselors
  • Employment in a variety of hospital or community-based mental health settings or private practice
  • Mental health counselors promote optimum mental health related or unrelated to a diagnosed psychological disorder or condition, including addiction or substance abuse; family, parenting, or marital problems; or other concerns associated with mental and emotional health, which may include comorbid conditions of epilepsy
  • Rehabilitation counselors work with people with disabilities to help achieve personal, social, psychological, and vocational goals and assist with psychosocial adjustment and coping, benefits planning, and educational and vocational planning and services
  • American Board of Genetic Counseling, Inc.
  • American Counseling Association
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association
  • American Rehabilitation Counseling Association
  • American School Counselor Association
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
  • National Board for Certified Counselors and Affiliates, Inc.
  • National Rehabilitation Association
  • National Society of Genetic Counselors
  • Many states also have state associations for a variety of counseling specialties
Direct care workersa
  • Provision of assistance with daily living activities, including bathing, dressing, eating, and moving patients
  • Possible assistance with household activities, including cleaning, laundry, and meal preparation
  • Possible assistance with medication management
  • Possible employment in group homes, private homes, long-term care, and nursing home settings; direct care workers may encounter people with epilepsy and their families in those settings
  • National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals
  • National Association of Health Care Assistants
  • Many states have direct care worker associations and associations for nursing aides
Electroneuro-diagnostic technologists (sometimes known as electro- encephalography [EEG] technologists)
  • Recording, monitoring, and analysis of nervous system function using a variety of electroneurodiagnostic procedures, such as an EEG, intraoperative neuromonitoring, and long-term monitoring, which may be part of epilepsy diagnosis and assessment
  • Preparation of relevant information for physician interpretation
  • Employment in a variety of settings, including hospitals, intensive care units, clinics, research facilities, operating rooms, and epilepsy monitoring units
  • American Association of Electrodiagnostic Technologists
  • American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists
  • American Clinical Neurophysiology Society
  • American Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists, Inc.
  • Committee on Accreditation for Education in Electroneurodiagnostic Technology
Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel
  • Profession includes a range of personnel with varying backgrounds and education and training, such as medical first responders, emergency medical technicians (EMTs)—basic, intermediate, and paramedic
  • Provision of medically supervised transportation in out-of-hospital settings, which may include transportation for people with new onset seizures, status epilepticus, or seizure-related injuries
  • Part of emergency medical organizations that respond to emergency calls
  • International Association of EMTs and Paramedics
  • National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
  • National Association of EMS Educators
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
  • Many states also have state associations for emergency response personnel
Neuropsychologists
  • Assessment of cognitive impairments; diagnosis of neuropsychological conditions; and administration and interpretation of neuropsychological tests, brain mapping, and Wada testing, which may be part of diagnosis and assessment for people with epilepsy
  • Assistance in rehabilitation and the development and provision of cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial interventions, which may be connected to comorbidities of epilepsy
  • Possible provision of care in comprehensive epilepsy centers, hospitals and clinics, community mental health settings, or private practice
  • American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology
  • American Psychological Association, Division of Clinical Neuropyschology
  • Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Counsel of Specialties in Professional Psychology
  • National Academy of Neuropsychology
Pharmacists
  • Dispensing of seizure medications and other medications
  • Identification and prevention of medication errors
  • Provision of advice to patients about possible side effects, adverse reactions, and drug interactions, as well as specific information and considerations for subpopulations such as older adults, children, and women
  • American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • American Pharmacists Association
  • American Society of Health System Pharmacists
  • National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
  • National Community Pharmacists Association
Physician assistants
  • Profession works under the supervision of physicians to provide a range of medical services including physical examinations, diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and management of a variety of acute and chronic conditions, such as epilepsy
  • Physician assistants often serve in a primary care capacity, but also may specialize and work with medical specialists, such as surgeons, neurologists, and obstetrician-gynecologists who work with people with epilepsy
  • Scopes of practice and specific practice roles and responsibilities vary by state and clinical setting
  • Patient and family education and counseling
  • Referrals to specialists and other health and human services
  • Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • Association of Family Practice Physician Assistants
  • National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
  • Physician Assistant Education Association
  • Many states have associations for physician assistants
Rehabilitation psychologists
  • Application of psychological knowledge and skills to the care of individuals with disabilities and chronic conditions, such as epilepsy
  • Possible provision of care in comprehensive epilepsy centers, hospitals and clinics, community mental health settings, or private practice
  • American Board of Professional Psychology
  • American Board of Rehabilitation Psychology
  • American Psychological Association, Division of Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Counsel of Specialties in Professional Psychology
Social workers
  • Provision of support, education, coordination of referrals, and case management, as well as counseling and therapeutic interventions
  • Specialties that are relevant to the health and well-being of people with epilepsy and their families may include areas such as clinical, medical, and public health social workers
  • Specific areas of practice, also relevant to the health and well-being of people with epilepsy and their families, include child and adolescent health, family dynamics, health broadly, aging, behavioral health, bereavement and end of life, diversity and equity, social justice, schools, and violence
  • Employment in a variety of settings, including schools, private practice, and hospital, community, and public health settings
  • American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work
  • Association of Social Work Boards
  • Clinical Social Work Association
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care
  • Many states also have state associations for a variety of social work specialties
a

The title “direct care worker” often includes aides, orderlies, attendants, home health aides, and personal and home care aides, among others (IOM, 2008).

The title “direct care worker” often includes aides, orderlies, attendants, home health aides, and personal and home care aides, among others (IOM, 2008).

From: D, Health Professionals Who Care for People with Epilepsy: Possible Roles and Relevant Boards and Organizations

Cover of Epilepsy Across the Spectrum
Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding.
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of the Epilepsies; England MJ, Liverman CT, Schultz AM, et al., editors.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2012.
Copyright © 2012, National Academy of Sciences.

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