Research Article| Volume 142, 108999, May 2023

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Efficacy of a specialized inpatient rehabilitation program in patients with early versus chronic epilepsy

Published:November 26, 2022DOI:


      • We investigated the effects of a rehabilitation program for patients with epilepsy.
      • Outcome measures included emotional adaptation to epilepsy and aspects of QOL.
      • Patients with early and chronic epilepsy showed similar psychosocial distress at admission.
      • Both groups benefited from the rehabilitation program to a similar extent.



      To evaluate the efficacy of a specialized inpatient rehabilitation program in patients with early in comparison with chronic epilepsy.


      We performed a prospective, open pre/post study using a parallel group design. Patients with early epilepsy (EE, treatment with anti-seizure medication [ASM] ≤ 1 year) or with chronic epilepsy (CE, ASM treatment > 5 years) completed questionnaires at the time of their admission to the rehabilitation program and at discharge. Outcome measures comprised scales from the PESOS questionnaire (PErformance, SOciodemographic aspects, Subjective estimation; e.g., emotional adaptation to epilepsy) as well as screening instruments for depression (Neurological Disorders Depression Inventory for Epilepsy, NDDI-E) and anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale, GAD-7). Linear mixed models (LMMs) were used to determine the effects of the program in the total group and to compare the effects between patients with EE and CE.


      The analyses included 79 patients with EE and 157 patients with CE. Baseline comparisons revealed differences in disease-related and sociodemographic variables (e.g., patients with EE were older, those with CE had a higher seizure frequency and a higher rate of unemployment; all p < .01). LMMs showed significant improvements in emotional adaptation to epilepsy, depression, anxiety, overall quality of life and overall health as well as in perceived overall restrictions because of epilepsy and the subjective level of information about epilepsy (all p < .001). Despite the different duration of epilepsy, baseline levels as well as improvements did not differ between patients with EE and CE (all p > .05) except for the perceived level of information, which was significantly lower in patients with EE at admission and improved to a higher extent in this group (both p < .001).


      Both patients with EE and patients with CE who are referred to a specialized comprehensive rehabilitation program benefit from the participation in this program with respect to emotional adaptation to epilepsy, aspects of quality of life, and level of information about epilepsy.



      ASM (anti-seizure medication), CE (chronic epilepsy), EE (early epilepsy), GAD-7 (Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale), LMM (linear mixed model), NDDI-E (Neurological Disorders Depression Inventory for Epilepsy), PESOS (Performance, Sociodemographic aspects, Subjective estimation), QOL (quality of life)
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