Aimee W. Smith, PhD: Caring for Pediatric Patients With Epilepsy


The assistant professor of psychology at East Carolina discussed how to improve adherence in young adults and children with epilepsy, and how physicians can go about checking quality of life in patients.

“One other thing I think is really vital, regardless of who’s treating the epilepsy, is to just measure quality of life in some way...A lot of times we make assumptions about how things are going for our patients but really we see a 10- to 30-minute snapshot.”

At the 73rd annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES), December 6-10, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland, NeurologyLive sat down with Aimee W. Smith, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, East Carolina University, to discuss adherence and quality of life in patients with epilepsy—specifically adolescents and teenagers.

These 2 aspects of their care are critical, and although there are no age-specific guidelines for improving adherence, there are free tools available for clinicians to utilize. Smith offered a look at number of those tools, as well as highlighted the need for clinicians to ensure the burden of responsibility of taking medications does not lie solely on the child. For those struggling with adherence, her best advice for clinicians is to utilize problem-solving to identify what is obstructing the ability to adhere, and then provide a solution on a patient-by-patient basis.

As well, she offered some advice for clinicians to take the time to measure quality of life in these patients—as well as adults—as the snapshot view physicians get often does not provide a full enough picture of each patient’s situation.

For more coverage of AES 2019, click here.

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