By: Natalie L. Boehm, MBA, RBLP-T
What is an Epilepsy Center?
According to the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, an epilepsy center provides a comprehensive team approach to the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. Epilepsy center teams consist of epileptologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, specialty nurses, EEG technicians, and social workers. The team helps in diagnosing patients and putting together patient care plans to provide treatment to patients with uncontrolled epilepsy.
What kind of care do they provide?
Medical centers are assigned different level numbers, from one to four. The higher the level, the more resources are available for patients with epilepsy. The National Association of Epilepsy Centers assigns a level to the organization and accredits level three and level four organizations. The four levels are:
Level1: epilepsy care that occurs in an emergency room or a primary care physician’s office with an epilepsy evaluation.
Level 2: epilepsy care involves a consultation with a general neurologist. This consultation may occur at a specialized epilepsy center.
Levels 3 and 4 are located at specialized epilepsy centers
Level three centers provide a basic care where level four deals with more complex cases. Level three provides evaluations and services for noninvasive treatments to see if patients qualify for surgery of a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS). Banner Boswell Medical Center is an example of a level three center. Banner Boswell focuses on neurological adult diagnostics and neurosurgical treatment for patients. Epilepsy is not a main focus, they also care for patients with stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
Level four deals with complex cases where medications, VNS, RNS, or any other options have failed, and surgery is strongly suggested. Evaluations such mapping, using intercranial electrodes, and other advanced monitoring are used to plan surgery for the patient. An example of a level four center is the University of Oklahoma’s Level four Epilepsy Center. They are the only level four center in the state of Oklahoma and provide a number of testing and services focused on epilepsy and seizure diagnostic disorders. It is advised by the NAEC that if a patient’s seizure have not been brought under control within a year, to request a referral to visit a specialized epilepsy center and consult with an epileptologist.
Why are Epilepsy Centers important? How can they help patients?
Many patients go through trial and error, being put on many different medications before a combination is found. For many, despite multiple attempts at different medications or combination of medications, they still have difficulty getting their seizures under control. Treating epilepsy is so much more than just taking medication. Proper sleep, stress reduction, exercise, nutrition, emotional, and mental wellness all need to be taken into consideration. The epilepsy team works to put together a patient care plan to help the patient gain control of their seizures and help them to achieve a good quality of life.
Top Ten Hospitals for Neurology and Neurosurgery
According to U.S. News, the top ten hospitals for Neurology and Neurosurgery for adults are:
1. UCSF Medical Center
2. New York Presbyterian Hospital- Columbia and Cornell
3. Rush University Medical Center
4. John Hopkins Hospital
5. NYU Langone Hospitals
6. Mayo Clinic
7. Cleveland Clinic
8. UCLA Medical Center
9. Northwestern Memorial Hospital
10. Mount Sinai Hospital
According to U.S. News, the top ten children’s hospitals for Neurology and Neurosurgery are:
1. Boston Children’s Hospital
2. Texas Children’s Hospital
3. Children’s National Hospital
4. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
5. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
6. Nationwide Children’s Hospital
7. St. Louis Children’s Hospital- Washington University
8. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
9. Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
10. Children’s Hospital Colorado
An epilepsy center provides a comprehensive team approach to the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. Epilepsy center teams consist of epileptologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, specialty nurses, EEG technicians, and social workers which work together to diagnose patients and put together patient care plans to provide treatments to patients with uncontrolled epilepsy. There are four different levels of epilepsy centers. The more resources there are and the more complex cases they take on, the higher level the center is. It is important to make all resources available to patients with epilepsy to ensure proper diagnosis, treatment, and help to improve the patient’s quality of life.
Banner Health (2021). Banner Boswell Medical Center. Banner Health. Retrieved from: https://www.bannerhealth.com/locations/sun-city/banner-boswell-medical-center?locname=Banner%20Boswell%20Medical%20Center
National Association of Epilepsy Centers (2021). What is an Epilepsy Center? National Association of Epilepsy Centers. Retrieved from: https://www.naec-epilepsy.org/about-epilepsy-centers/what-is-an-epilepsy-center/
University of Oklahoma (2021). Epilepsy. University of Oklahoma Health. Retrieved from: https://www.ouhealth.com/health-services/neurosciences/epilepsy/
U.S. News (2021). Best Hospitals for Neurology & Neurosurgery. U.S. News. Retrieved from: https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings/neurology-and-neurosurgery
U.S. News (2021). Best Children’s Hospitals for Neurology & Neurosurgery. U.S. News. Retrieved from: https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/pediatric-rankings/neurology-and-neurosurgery