Children with epilepsy are more likely to stick to their prescribed therapies if their parents are more educated on health matters.
This is according to a new report from the University of Alabama, which aimed to examine the relationship between parental health literacy and adherence-related outcomes in children with epilepsy.
Missed medication doses or medical appointments can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of treatment among children with epilepsy, thereby increasing seizure frequency. The researchers hypothesised that parents with better levels of health literacy would report fewer problems of this kind.
To investigate this, interviews were conducted with 146 parents and guardians of children with epilepsy who lived in rural communities, with results published in the medical journal Epilepsy & Behavior.
The data indicated that parent health literacy was the strongest predictor of two key adherence-related factors, with higher literacy scores associated with fewer missed medication doses and seizure occurrences, although better education did not seem to affect the number of missed medical appointments.
When examining some of the other study variables, higher household income levels were also shown to be predictive of fewer missed doses, indicating that children of well-off, educated parents tend to experience fewer problems with treatment adherence.
The study concluded: ‘The study findings suggest that inadequate health literacy among parents may serve as an independent risk factor for adherence-related outcomes among children with epilepsy.
Further research, as well as effective, targeted parent health literacy strategies used to improve epilepsy management and care in children, is recommended.’
Approximately one in 240 children under 16 in the UK are affected by epilepsy, and around 40 to 80 fatalities are caused by the condition annually. Parents can play a key role in helping their children to manage their epilepsy effectively and safely.
Posted by Anne Brown
Click here for more articles about epilepsy in children.