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The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital allows for around-the-clock monitoring of patients with epilepsy. As a patient in the unit, you will be closely observed by hospital staff throughout the day and night.

The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is staffed with medical, nursing, and technical personnel who are specially trained to monitor patients for 24 hours a day. The unit features computer-based monitoring equipment that is specifically designed to evaluate seizure disorders such as epilepsy.

Our epilepsy monitoring program coordinator will contact you prior to admission to provide instructions for your admission; including the date and time you should arrive. You also will receive a phone call the morning of your admission to confirm your arrival time. It is important that you arrive on schedule so that your monitoring can be initiated promptly.

What to Expect in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

  1. Your seizures will be recorded and studied so that your doctors can properly diagnosis you and decide on the best treatment.
  2. If you are taking medication to control seizures, your doctor may adjust your medication or ask you to stop taking your medication to increase the chances of you having a seizure while in the unit, which will allow your doctors to record and analyze your seizures. You should discuss any changes in your medication with your doctor.
  3. You will be connected to video EEG monitoring equipment 24 hours a day. This continuous monitoring is important for gathering information about your seizures.
  4. You should expect to spend most of your time in bed or nearby because you will be attached to the EEG equipment, including electrodes that will be attached to your head. Because of the electrodes, you will not be able to wash your hair or shower until the monitoring is completed.
  5. If you experience an aura, you should report this to a unit staff member. You should also alert unit staff if you suspect a seizure is coming. This information is important for the analysis of the seizure.
  6. The amount of time you will spend in the unit will vary by patient, depending on the tests and monitoring required and the number of seizures you have. Patients most often stay between 3 and 7 days. After you are discharged from the unit, you may need to remain in the hospital for a few days to have your medications regulated or readjusted.

Checklist for Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

  • Comfortable clothes and clothes that fasten in the front. Otherwise you may choose to wear a hospital gown.
  • All the medications you take (anti-seizure and non-seizure) to the hospital
  • Books, magazines, puzzles, games, DVD movies and craft/hobby projects to help pass the time
  • Personal care items such as soap, toothpaste and other toiletries
  • Any prescribed CPAP or bi-level PAP machine for sleep

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