Challenges for Children with Epilepsy and the Need for Specialized Transition Programs
This literature review analyzes current research about children with epilepsy and the necessity for specialized transition care programs. It focuses on transition care programs in Canada, which assist individuals with chronic illnesses to switch from a pediatric healthcare model to an adult healthcare model. It explores challenges faced by children with epilepsy that make maintenance of the condition variable for every individual, and how these challenges contribute to the necessity for transition care programs. Despite multiple initiatives across Canada that advocate for the need for transition care programs due to the cognitive, psychological, and developmental challenges children with epilepsy experience, results demonstrate that transition programs are often temporary, and more programs need to be implemented to be available to families of children with epilepsy. Due to the complex nature of epilepsy, the age of transition with its increased risk of psychological and cognitive challenges, and often additional comorbidities, specialized transition programs are required to ensure optimal treatment is maintained. It is crucial that healthcare professionals be equipped with the skills for planning around special healthcare needs, follow evidence-based transition plans, and ensure access to services for individuals going through transition. Results also show transitioning youth are unprepared and parents are not informed about transition programs. Multiple resources found facets of a good transition program include a multidisciplinary team, collaboration between healthcare and families, a family-centred approach, educating families and patients on condition, and a unique plan for each individual. Future research should further explore and define the qualities of a successful transition care program.
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