KHSC named District Epilepsy Centre

News / Internal Medicine Care
By John Pereira

Designation to bring care closer to home for patients and families

A new resource will soon be available for patients in Southeastern Ontario that have been diagnosed with Epilepsy.

On Friday, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins announced that Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) would become the next District Epilepsy Centre in Ontario.

This designation means that KHSC will have access to funding to increase our capacity to test and assess patients with Epilepsy to determine if they are candidates for surgery.

“Epilepsy is a hidden disease, and one of the most common neurological conditions. One in 100 people have epilepsy,” says Neurologist and Epilepsy expert Dr. Lysa Lomax. “It’s a life changing condition that can impact a patient’s ability to drive or work. We see about 1600 patients in our clinic at our Hotel Dieu Hospital site and we receive about 350 new patient referrals per-year.”

In most patients, seizures can be controlled through the use of medication, however about 20-30 per cent of people don’t respond to the drugs. For patients who don’t respond to medication surgery may be an option, but they first have to undergo prolonged electroencephalogram (EEG) testing, and neuropsychological and psychiatric assessments to determine if they are a candidate.

Testing takes five days or more while we map the brain to determine where seizures begin.

“We currently have one adult and one pediatric bed for EEG testing so patients in the past would often be referred to Toronto or London,” says Lomax. “This designation will allow us to access funding to increase the number of beds and staff so that we are able to test more patients each year.”

Last year, KHSC admitted 62 patients to our epilepsy monitoring unit. With increased resources, we hope to double our numbers in our first year. KHSC will also be able to increase the number of support staff such as dedicated nurses, social workers, EEG technologists and administrative assistants to assist our patients.

Another added benefit to the designation is that it will help attract future neurologists to come to Kingston to practice at KHSC.

“This is a prestigious designation that will help us attract the next generation of talented health-care providers,” says Lomax. “This wouldn’t have been possible without our partnership with the Epilepsy Resource Centre of Southeastern Ontario and the Department of Medicine at Queen’s University. We’re proud to be working together to create positive outcomes like this for our patients and families.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by the Head of the Department of Medicine at Queen’s University, Dr. Stephen Archer.

“KHSC and Queen’s have a long tradition of excellence in epilepsy care and research. This designation reflects both this proud history and our plans to advance epilepsy care through recruitment of new epileptologists as well as implementation of state of the art care programs such as epilepsy surgery.”

For more information about epilepsy resources available in Kingston, visit www.epilepsyresource.org