Process evaluation of a multi-component self-management intervention for adults with epilepsy (ZMILE study)

L A M Leenen*, Ben F M Wijnen, Jolanda C M van Haastregt, Reina J A de Kinderen, Silvia M A A Evers, Marian H J M Majoie, Caroline M van Heugten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: People with epilepsy need to monitor and manage their symptoms. They, as well as their relatives, have to deal with the psychological burden, reflected in a reduced quality of life. Support in self-management can be of importance. We have developed a multi-component self-management intervention for patients and their relatives (MCI). This eight-week group intervention is conducted by nurse practitioners and consists of six two-hour sessions. The main components are: 1) providing self-management education, 2) stimulating proactive coping and goal-setting and 3) facilitating peer and social support. This study is a process evaluation to establish the feasibility, fidelity and acceptability of the intervention by assessing performance according to protocol, attendance and adherence, and the opinion of patients, relatives and facilitators about the intervention.

METHOD: Study population consists of 52 patients with epilepsy living in the community (e.g. at home), 37 relatives and six facilitators. In this prospective mixed methods study, data were gathered using questionnaires for patients and relatives, registration forms for facilitators and by carrying out semi-structured group interviews with patients, relatives and facilitators.

RESULTS: Patients and relatives attended a mean of 5.2 sessions. Forty-seven (90%) patients and 32 (86.5%) relatives attended at least five sessions. The mean group size was 8.1 (SD=1.3; range 6-10). All elements of the intervention were offered to participants, except for one e-Health tool which was only available at the start of the study. Overall, the sessions were considered useful by patients, their relatives and facilitators. The participation of a relative (social support) and sharing ideas and feelings about having epilepsy with peers (peer support) were rated as important aspects.

CONCLUSION: This process evaluation revealed that the MCI was largely performed according to protocol, attendance rate was high, and participants and facilitators had, on the whole, a favourable opinion about the MCI, and would recommend it to others with epilepsy and their relatives. Overall, the adherence of patients and relatives was high. The MCI is considered feasible according to patients, relatives and facilitators. Implementation is recommended if the intervention proves to be effective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
JournalEpilepsy & Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Journal Article
  • Self-management intervention
  • PLAN
  • eHealth
  • Pro-active goal-setting
  • Peer support
  • Social support
  • Shared decision-making


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