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Epilepsy Behav. 2019 Dec;101(Pt A):106214. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2019.03.019. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Current behavioral health and cognitive screening practices in pediatric epilepsy.

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Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA. Electronic address:
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
Akron Children's Hospital, Akron, OH, USA.
Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.
Children's Hospital of Orange County, Orange, CA, USA.



Initiatives such as the Epilepsy Learning Healthcare System continue to advocate for standardized care and shared outcome data. Therefore, the current project aim was to gather information from epilepsy healthcare professionals, behavioral health professionals in particular, regarding their behavioral health and cognitive screening practices in pediatric patients with epilepsy. Information obtained will be used to assist in the development of new educational programs and platforms in the American Epilepsy Society (AES) and to inform the development of guidelines for behavioral healthcare of patients with pediatric epilepsy.


Twenty-five AES members representing 25 unique epilepsy programs across the United States participated in the survey. Findings are described in terms of three focus areas: (1) Systems, (2) Assessment, and (3) Intervention. Over 80% of respondents surveyed reported that they do conduct formal screenings, most commonly to determine if further evaluation is indicated (81%), inform treatment decisions (57.1%), and for developmental surveillance (33.3%). Assessment methods were fairly evenly split between nonstandardized informal questions (50%) and evidence-based broadband measures, with the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC), 2nd or 3rd Editions (40%) most commonly used. If behavioral health concerns are identified, referrals are often made for psychotherapy (48% in-house; 80% community-based), psychiatry (68% in-house; 48% community-based), and cognitive testing (88% neuropsychological testing; 36% for psychoeducational testing). Thirty-two percent refer for psychotropic medication management.


According to this survey, a number of epilepsy centers and clinics incorporate behavioral health screening; however, there is significant variability in assessments/measures used, who is administering them, and their purpose in the trajectory of treatment. These findings emphasize the need for standardization across centers in order to most effectively provide comprehensive care for youth with epilepsy.


Behavioral health; Mental health; Psychosocial; Screening

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