Lack of Consensus on Patient Care, Safety Measures in Epilepsy Units

Armen Hareyan's picture
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A new AES survey of physicians and nurses provided the basis for a working group discussion at this week's meeting regarding a need for the creation of standards in patient care and safety measures in epilepsy monitoring units (EMUs) across the United States.

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Patients are admitted to EMUs to determine if they are having seizures, to consider if surgery is an option, for medication changes, or other diagnostic procedures. Some of the monitoring procedures require sleep deprivation and/or taking patients off medications to provoke seizures for simultaneous recording of symptoms and related brain wave activity.

The surveys evaluated EMU practices related to these monitoring procedures, as well as patient supervision. Results revealed discrepancies across EMUs in these areas, with relatively few physicians and nurses reporting that their facilities had protocols in place for seizure monitoring or patient supervision.

"In the continuum of patient care, EMUs are critically important and can significantly drive outcomes," said EMU Study Group member Gregory L. Barkley, MD, Clinical Vice Chair, Department of Neurology, Henry Ford Hospital. "This is why the AES has made it a priority to examine EMUs and formulate best practices and guidelines that will establish a standard, increase efficiency and, most importantly, improve patient outcomes."

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