700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Epilepsy Monitoring: What to Expect

Jan 29, 2024
woman connected to a monitor, connected to her head

When a child has epilepsy, your doctor might recommend epilepsy monitoring so specialists can observe episodes. Monitoring, which is an in-patient procedure, makes it possible for your child’s medical team to determine if concerning events are seizures as well as where in the brain seizures are occurring. The results can also inform whether epilepsy surgery is needed.

Prepare for Epilepsy Monitoring

Prior to your child’s admission, make sure their hair is clean and free of any hair products. You should give your child any medications they take regularly, unless specifically advised not to by their neurology clinician.

What to Bring

You should bring all of your child’s medications and supplements to the hospital so they can be verified by your care team during admission. You may also want to bring loose fitting clothing that has buttons (especially if you are scheduled for longer than one day), since your child will not be able to remove t-shirts or pullovers over their head once the EEG monitoring has started.

You may want to bring your child’s blanket and pillow, favorite toys, books, or video game systems (these can be connected to the TV in the patient rooms). You can bring your child’s schoolwork to do while in the hospital, as they will be able to use laptops/tablets in their room.

The EEG Hook-Up

Your child will have EEG electrodes placed to monitor their brain waves. The process of getting the EEG electrodes on can take up to an hour, depending on how your child tolerates the procedure. Small areas on your child’s scalp will be cleaned using a cotton swab to ensure that the electrodes and glue stick well. A small piece of gauze is placed over the electrode with glue and is dried by blowing air on it with a small hand-held dryer.

Your child may be wrapped in a snug blanket or be placed in a papoose (a board/wrap designed for young children), to prevent them from moving around on the bed or pulling at wires while electrodes are being placed.

Once EEG hook-up is complete, your child will be taken back to their hospital room, where they will stay for the remainder of the admission.

Monitoring With Your Help

During your child’s stay it is important that you remain at the bedside the entire time, to keep a close eye on them in case they have an event. We ask that you push the event button anytime you see an event of concern and fill out the event log. This test includes video monitoring, so it is important that you help keep your child in view on the camera for successful monitoring.

Your Care Team

An interdisciplinary team will care for your child during your stay:

  • An advanced practice provider and nurse will complete the initial admission assessment and questionnaires.
  • An EEG technician will be responsible for EEG hook-up and monitoring during your admission.
  • An epileptologist will be responsible for the final EEG report and the plan of care during your stay.
  • A social worker can help address concerns related to the impact of seizures and epilepsy on your child’s daily life outside of the hospital, such as at school.

Day of Discharge

On the day of discharge, an EEG technician will remove the EEG electrodes using a special solution to dissolve the glue. Once the electrodes are removed, a shampoo cap is used to massage and remove any excess glue that is left behind. Your child can take a shower after the leads are removed.

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and Epilepsy Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital
Learn More

Featured Expert

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional
Shivani Bhatnagar, CPNP-PC

Shivani Bhatnagar, CPNP-PC, is a part of the Nurse Practitioner within Neurology at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

All Topics

Browse by Author

About this Blog

Pediatric News You Can Use From America’s Largest Pediatric Hospital and Research Center

700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.