Diagnosis of epilepsy – consequences for work and professional activities


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Journal of Epileptology

Foundation of Epileptology

Subject: Medicine


eISSN: 2300-0147





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VOLUME 23 , ISSUE 2 (December 2015) > List of articles

Diagnosis of epilepsy – consequences for work and professional activities

Tobias Knieß * / Hermann Stefan / Peter Brodisch

Keywords : community health workers, employment supported, occupational health services

Citation Information : Journal of Epileptology. Volume 23, Issue 2, Pages 103-112, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/joepi-2015-0032

License : (CC BY 4.0)

Received Date : 07-May-2015 / Accepted: 07-October-2015 / Published Online: 20-October-2015



Introduction. The correct diagnosis of epileptic seizures and non-epileptic attacks has a decisive influence on treatment, counseling and duration of possible work limitations. Diagnostic efforts should aim towards classifying the seizure as precisely as possible. For risk assessments, e.g. at the workplace, a close cooperation and networking of all professionals involved in the epilepsy treatment, care and consultation processes is required.

Aim. To present guidelines for assessment of occupational capacity of persons with epilepsy and to discuss their value in clinical practice.

Method and Material. The German employer’s liability insurance association has recently published the new revised BGI 585 Risk Assessment Guidelines (DGUV information 250-001) framework and assistance in epilepsy in view of protection against unfair dismissal. These guidelines provide information on safety and health in the workplace. Throughout all the German federal states, 24 Network teams were established. During the period January 2010 and December 2013, 374 employees with epilepsy were consulted by an expert member of Network Epilepsy and Work (NEA) Team, of which 80 were prospectively included in a study and scientifically evaluated.

Guidelines and discussion. While conducting the risk assessment, a special medical fact check in accordance with the guidelines was used. In addition to medical aspects, the individual vocational and occupational situation was considered. Based on this assessment an individual recommendation was made relating to continuation of employment. The project NEA established regional teams of physicians, therapists, consultants from social services, employment offices and rehabilitation authorities across Germany in order to link by networks the complex medical and social aspects of reducing the risk of people with epilepsy losing their job.

Results. It was shown that support and consultation through the NEA team led to an endangered position of employment being maintained in 70% of cases.

Conclusion. In many cases, loss of employment can be prevented by consequent application of DGUV information 250-001 (recently revised from BGI 585) for risk assessment of epilepsy in employment, together with improved networking between medical professionals, occupational health professionals and social services.

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