Institutional care for patients with epilepsy: historical aspects from the late 18th century until today Volume 20, issue 1, janvier-février-mars 2008

Labry, 26160 Le Poet Laval

We summarize the history of institutional care for patients with epilepsy from French language documents published between 1770 and 1952. Historical differences between treatment delivered to people with epilepsy in France and in other countries in the 19th and early 20th century are studied with regard to the dominant ideologies governing health policies and hospital care. The development of a concept of institutions for patients with epilepsy is replaced within the context of evolving knowledge on semeiology, etiologies and treatment, of evolving preconceptions on the nature of epilepsy, and of the evolving relationship between individuals and society. In order to illustrate the progress in the care of epileptics, we summarize the history of three specialized centres (La Teppe in the Drôme region, Centre Saint Paul in Marseille, and Toul Ar’ Choat in Brittany).