Hospitals and Epilepsy Centers
Hospitals & Epilepsy Centers
Hospitals are outfitted to treat most illnesses, respond to emergency situations and carry out practically all surgical procedures, but not all are equipped for full treatment and counseling of people with epilepsy. What separates the nearly 60 nationwide epilepsy centers from hospitals is specialization. An epilepsy center's organization and staff is set up solely to treat and counsel those who have epilepsy or seizure disorders. Many epilepsy centers are partnered with hospitals or medical centers, but to receive epilepsy surgery, patients must go to a hospital teamed with an epilepsy center.
Epilepsy centers are also more likely to have epileptologists - neurologists who specialize in epilepsy - on staff, as they are considered these organizations' principal doctors. Epileptologists can also be found in some hospitals, but almost all epilepsy centers have epileptologists on staff. An epileptologist's training includes exposure to a host of epilepsy-related problems and input from various health care workers. Epileptologists are taught to interpret electroencephalograms (EEGs) and video EEG results, as well as when to prescribe certain medications and often how to perform epilepsy surgery.
Other substantial differences between hospitals and epilepsy centers are the counseling and educational programs. Epilepsy centers are not only medical treatment facilities. They are also educational institutions and "safe havens" for people with epilepsy, or people who think they might have epilepsy. In most cases, patients are even referred to epilepsy centers by their neurologists or doctors because the nature of their seizures are uncertain or the treatments they have been provided are not working or are resulting in adverse side effects. Questions like: "Is it epilepsy or something else?" and "What type of seizures are they, partial or generalized?" can sometimes be better answered by experts at epilepsy centers. They are better suited to provide advice on how to improve the use of antiepileptic drugs and changing lifestyles, such as more sleep.