Socio-economic impact of epilepsy in Italy
Keywords:Co-morbidities, Economic burden, Economic impact, Epilepsy
The World Health Assembly recognizes the growing economic and societal burden of neurological disorders, a leading cause of disability and the second cause of mortality in the world.
In this context we analysed the socio-economic impact of epilepsy in Italy with a specific focus on hospitalizations and costs related to disability pensions (DPs) and ordinary disability allowances.
In the case of epilepsy, between 2009 and 2015 we observed an alarming increasing trend for DPs (+26%), indicating that substantial expenses must be supported throughout the patients’ lifetimes by both the social security system and the National Health Service (NHS) on top of the impact on caregivers.
We also analysed the hospital expenditure on epilepsy through the information available in the Hospital Discharge Cards between 2015 and 2018. Almost all admissions (76% ordinary hospitalizations, 24% day hospitals) were acute (95%), followed by rehabilitation (4%) and long-term care (1%).
The cost of acute and ordinary hospitalizations was by far the highest in 2018, the last year of analysis. This large expense due to hospitalizations could be reduced through the implementation of different organizational and management approaches. Our recommendation is that the policy maker should consider the best approach to ensure an early diagnosis for patients and provide early access to drugs and/or surgery. Finally, the adoption of new innovative treatments should improve effectiveness and, at the same time, reduce the expense of the NHS, of the social system as a whole, with a tangible improvement in patients’ quality of life.
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