Epilepsy Self-Management in Older Adults: A Qualitative Descriptive Study

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): In the United States, older adults have the highest incidence of new-onset seizures, or epilepsy. Because epilepsy is a chronic disease for which there is no cure, older adults are required to independently manage their epilepsy. Self-management refers to a set of behaviors-actions and tasks-carried out by individuals with chronic diseases in order to manage their diseases, associated treatments, and overall impact on daily life. The self-management of epilepsy has been shown to be complex and also related to important societal and clinical outcomes such as healthcare resource utilization, quality of life, and mortality. While researchers have investigated the epilepsy self-management experiences of young and middle-aged adults with epilepsy, no studies examining the self-management experiences of older adults with epilepsy have been executed. Understanding the impact of epilepsy on the lives of older adults and the challenges they face in managing this disease is necessary to develop effective interventions to improve epilepsy self-management, and thus clinical outcomes, for this population. Thus, there is a need to investigate the epilepsy self-management experiences of older adults. The specific aims of this study are to describe epilepsy self-management experiences from the perspective of older adults (those diagnosed at age 60 years or older) and, when applicable, their significant others. A descriptive qualitative design will be used, with narrative data being analyzed via content analysis. Findings generated from this study will ultimately inform the development of future interventions to enhance or facilitate the epilepsy self-management behaviors and experiences of older adults with epilepsy. PhD coursework, conferences, workshops, participation in interdisciplinary research teams, participation in health behavior seminars, and close monitoring by the applicant's sponsors on a bi-weekly basis is proposed in the structured plan to achieve the study aim. Consistent with the mission of the National Institute of Nursing Research, the proposed training plan is designed to enhance the development of essential knowledge and research skills necessary for the applicant to meet the career goal of becoming an established researcher, in a research-intensive academic setting, focused on investigating older adults with epilepsy and their self- management. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Many older adults in the United States suffer from epilepsy and must take steps to manage this disease on their own. This research will provide information which will help to plan interventions aimed at improving older adults'epilepsy self-management experiences.
Effective start/end date5/1/104/30/13


  • National Institutes of Health: $33,512.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $26,772.00


  • Medicine(all)
  • Nursing(all)


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