Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU)

Many people with epilepsy can become — and stay — seizure-free with medications. But for up to one-third of people with epilepsy, medications are not enough to control seizures. When two medications (taken alone or together) don’t work, you may need more intensive treatment.

At Henry Ford Health, our epilepsy experts offer in-depth testing to fully understand what you’re experiencing and plan treatment that works for you. In our epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU), we use the most advanced equipment and technology for 24/7 evaluation.

Our experienced epileptologists (specialists in seizures and epilepsy), nurses and technologists get to the source of epilepsy symptoms so you can find relief.

What is an epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU)?

An epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) is a specialized hospital department where we monitor people with epilepsy around the clock. In the EMU, our nurses and technicians have specialized training to record and analyze brain waves, seizure activity and other important details.

In a comfortable, private setting, you undergo testing for epilepsy while our doctors, nurses and technologists track your symptoms. By recording and analyzing your brain activity over several days, we gather details that help us plan more effective treatment for you.

Epilepsy monitoring unit at Henry Ford: Why choose us?

At our Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, we designed our EMU with you in mind. Our patient-centered approach means that your care is in excellent hands.

Highlights of our EMU include:

  • National recognition: We’ve received designation from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as a level 4 epilepsy center because we provide the highest level of diagnosis and treatment. This recognition demonstrates our decades of commitment to exceptional care for people with epilepsy and all types of seizures.
  • Compassionate approach: Your comfort is important to us, and our patients often tell us that their experience was a pleasant one. In the EMU, you’ll have a private room with the ability to communicate with your care team. The equipment allows you to move around your room under supervision, and the private bathroom is off camera for your privacy.
  • Team expertise: Our epileptologists are board-certified neurologists with additional years of training to specialize in epilepsy. Our nurses all have specialized training in seizure management. We’re dedicated to keeping you safe and providing exceptional care during your stay and throughout your treatment.
  • Supportive services: Our nurses and technicians provide excellent support to help you with transportation to the EMU for your stay and home after discharge. We make sure you receive refills for your medications when you go home.

Conditions we evaluate using the epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU)

Our experienced technicians evaluate people with symptoms or a diagnosis of epilepsy, epileptic seizures or nonepileptic seizures. Find out more about epilepsy and the types of seizures we treat.

Evaluation in our EMU helps us plan treatment for people who have:

  • Epilepsy symptoms: Our advanced testing can confirm a diagnosis.
  • Epilepsy diagnosis: If you have been taking two or more medications that aren’t helping you, we evaluate you for possible surgery or other treatments.

Epilepsy monitoring unit: What to expect

In our epilepsy program, we have EMUs at Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. Depending on your specific case, your stay in the EMU may last for a few days or up to two weeks.

When you come to our EMUs, you can expect:

  • Attentive inpatient care: You stay in a private room with your own bathroom and a bed for a loved one to stay with you. Our epileptologists, nurses and technologists are on-site 24/7 to respond to your needs and make sure you’re safe at all times. You and your loved one can communicate with the team via microphone at any time.
  • Intensive monitoring: The purpose of epilepsy monitoring is to record brain activity during seizures, so we may reduce or stop your anti-seizure medications during your stay. Your room is equipped with specialized video EEG (electroencephalogram) equipment for long-term, in-depth monitoring. An EEG measures the brain’s electrical activity to provide details that help us determine the best possible treatments for you.
  • Specialized imaging and other testing: We may take advanced brain scans, such as SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomography), to help determine where seizures start. These highly detailed images show blood flow during and after a seizure to help us plan precise epilepsy surgery. You may also have a behavioral evaluation with a neuropsychologist, which also helps with our assessment.
  • Neuropsychological testing: You may also have a behavioral evaluation with a neuropsychologist, which also helps with our assessment.

If you’re a patient or a physician who wants to refer a patient to us, call today at (313)916-8956. We can schedule you for an appointment with our team within two weeks.

Take the Next Step

Request information or make an appointment, call (800) 436-7936.


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