Saskatoon – More than 800 donors including several families affected by epilepsy were at the core of fundraising efforts to bring a second, dedicated telemetry bed and equipment to Royal University Hospital. Telemetry is a form of epilepsy monitoring where a patient is observed, sometimes for as long as a week. Electrodes attached to the scalp record brain signals that then are sent to a sophisticated computer, and a ceiling-mounted video camera records the individual’s seizure activity. A doctor then reviews the video and compares a seizure to the patient’s brain wave readings to determine the cause and location in the brain of the seizure.
“We have seen the impact of telemetry diagnostics in our Region,” says Sandra Blevins, vice president, Saskatoon Health Region. “The patient stories about lives being turned around after assessment and surgery as a result of this procedure are compelling. A second, dedicated bed to telemetry means more patients can be seen sooner.”
The telemetry process requires long-term monitoring of a patient. With two beds dedicated to their needs, patients can now make firm plans to undergo the assessment. Use of both beds has reduced the wait time to less than a year from the previous 18 to 24 months.
“A second bed will improve the care of patients with epilepsy in the province of Saskatchewan,” says Dr. José Tellez Zenteno, medical director of the Saskatchewan Epilepsy Program and professor of Neurology at the University of Saskatchewan. “There is a significant waiting list of patients who require an investigation for epilepsy surgery but also to be investigated for potential diagnosis of epilepsy. The current waiting list is close to two years and this will be shortened with the second bed. Also, patients admitted to the neurology ward with other neurological problems who also require EEG monitoring will be benefit from the second bed. The level of care of neurological patients will be improved dramatically in the province.” EEG, or electroencephalography, is a procedure to detect electrical activity in the brain.
The Royal University Hospital Foundation with support from hundreds of donors dedicated $100,000 through fundraising for the second telemetry bed. “We have met patients whose lives have been transformed because they were able to have surgery resulting from this form of assessment,” says Vanessa Monar Enweani, volunteer vice-chair of the Royal University Hospital Foundation’s board of directors. “The sense of gratitude from patients and their families for the physicians and staff of the Saskatchewan Epilepsy Program made us realize how the provision of equipment can impact one’s life!”
“I want to express our sincerest thanks to the RUH Foundation donors for helping make this happen,” says Blevins. “I know the neurophysiology department staff are dedicated professionals who want to do the best for their patients, and this equipment will help them provide exceptional care.”