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Toolkit for Providers Serving Children with Epilepsy

Use a Seizure Action Plan: Tips for the Medical Provider


In the Improving Systems of Care Learning Collaborative, providers worked with family leaders to explore ways to increase the use of seizure action plans (SAP), and to improve communication between specialists, providers and families about the identification and management of seizures. In this section, we describe the seizure action plan using a question and answer format.


Question: What does a seizure action plan do?

Answer:
A seizure action plan provides information regarding management of seizures, which can be used by all care givers in all settings of the child’s life. At its most basic, it provides instructions on what to do in an emergency. In an expanded form, it serves additional functions (sometimes referred to as a care plan): 

  • Acts as a written co-management care plan that gives specific instructions on the roles of the family, primary care provider or specialist in a variety of possible situations

  • Provides an opportunity for families to receive information about medications, potential side effects and what to do if side effects occur

  • Reviews what to do if there is a seizure, including specific details such as how long any medication might take to have an effect and what to do if the seizure continues

  • Provides a communication strategy for both specialty and primary providers (if patient sees a specialist for epilepsy), detailing who should be called for what, as well as first steps families can take for common scenarios without additional provider input

  • Lays out follow-up plans, such as phone numbers, dates of next appointments and names of providers

  • Personalizes the basic form with special written instructions for school or other caregivers, if necessary
     

Question: Is there a standard seizure action plan template?

Answer:
There are many variations of seizure action plans available. In our collaborative we started with the Epilepsy Foundation of America (EFA) template. Examples of adaptations for particular states, levels of literacy and languages were developed by our teams:


Question: How does a Seizure Action Plan (SAP) differ from a Care Plan?

Answer:
A Seizure Action Plan may be one component of care plan, but a care plan has several components, usually including a summary of the patient’s history, medication list, and an agreed management plan. Primary Care Providers can work with families to identify current management issues, and make sure there is a plan for addressing them, then document the results of that discussion in the “Care Plan.” The care plan may include a list of the specialists the family is seeing along with their contact numbers and a “communication plan” so that the family knows which provider to call and when.

These links show some examples of care plans:

Question: How can I use a Seizure Action Plan to improve the quality of care being delivered for children with epilepsy in my practice?

Answer:
Families appreciate the opportunity to review with their provider what they should do when a seizure occurs. Families can share an updated seizure action plan with other caregivers that may look after their child e.g. grandparents, babysitter, or with the child’s school so that they also know what to do in case of a seizure.

Seizure Action Plans are just one type of tool that can be used to improve quality of care. Here are some other tips and tools that arose from our work in this and prior learning collaboratives. 


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