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12/5/2014
CHEO opens new epilepsy monitoring unit to improve patient care and reduce wait times
On May 12, CHEO’s new epilepsy monitoring unit will welcome its first patient for a short stay that will help physicians better assess and refine treatment of childhood epilepsy.
 
More than 70,000 Ontarians are living with epilepsy today — and 10,000 of them are children. CHEO will now dedicate two hospital beds full-time to the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. An estimated 90 to 100 patients a year with epilepsy will get tested and diagnosed faster at CHEO.
 
The new Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) will monitor and assess patients with suspected and pre-existing epilepsy. Patients will typically come for a stay of about 52 hours, allowing time to adjust medication and monitor the effects. This unit comes equipped with all of the necessary tools for diagnostics and treatment, as well as a dedicated team — enhancing care and reducing wait times for diagnostic testing.
 
“The current treatment process is lengthy,” says CHEO neurologist Dr. Sharon Whiting, “Patients must go through several appointments, and sometimes several seizures before they are able to seek treatment. The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit will help to speed up diagnosis and help more kids access the specialized treatment they need faster.”
 
The EMU will be staffed by members of the Neurology team and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to ensure that all aspects of the patient experience are looked after.
 
“A significant number of Ontarians are affected by epilepsy,” says CHEO president and CEO Alex Munter. “It’s time that we take action to improve diagnosis and treatment for children and youth living with this neurological disorder. With this unit we are ensuring treatment that is closer to home, with shorter wait times and better patient care.”
 
Each year in Canada, an average of 15,000 people learn they have epilepsy. The majority of those diagnosed are under the age of 18. Approximately 30% of all epileptics suffer from seizures that are resistant to drug therapy. The new Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at CHEO is an important step in helping kids and families be their healthiest and is another example of CHEOnext in action.
 
CHEO is a pediatric health and research centre providing outstanding family-centred patient care, pioneering breakthrough research, and training the health care professionals of tomorrow. CHEOnext is CHEO’s strategic plan.
 
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For more information:
 
Eva Schacherl
Communications Manager and Strategist
CHEO
Cell: 613-769-5553
eschacherl@cheo.on.ca
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