MGH Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is a specialized inpatient unit located in the Neurosciences Care Unit on the 8th floor of the new Lunder Building at 55 Fruit Street. Patients are admitted to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit for detailed diagnostic evaluation of their seizures and spells. In the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit our goal is to observe and record seizures using continuous EEG and video monitoring. These recordings allow us to make specific diagnoses of spells, and to precisely localize the source of epileptic discharge from the brain. Ultimately this type of detailed diagnostic information is used to develop a specific treatment plan designed for the individual patient that may include medications, surgery, or a device-based therapy.

Your Team

You will be admitted to the Neurology Service, which includes the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. Your “Attending Physician” will be the doctor who is assigned to the Neurology Service for that month. The Epilepsy Fellow and Neurology Residents (doctors who are furthering their specialization in Neurology) will coordinate your care.

The members of your Epilepsy Service team may include an epileptologist; a neurosurgeon; epilepsy fellows, a nurse coordinator and members of the administrative staff.  The team also includes the members of the EEG Laboratory, neuropsychologists, neuropsychiatrists, neuroradiologists and the nurses on the Neurological Specialty unit in the hospital

When you have completed your monitoring visit we will send a detailed summary report including our opinions and recommendations, to your referring physician and/or MGH Epilepsy Service physician.

What to Expect – Your Guide to The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

This guide to the pathway through the Monitoring Unit will assist you in understanding what to expect each day during your hospitalization. Day to day schedules and types of care may change according to the patient’s needs.

You are encouraged to ask the staff if you have any questions about your care. Care pathway “managers” will follow you through your hospital stay. These managers are advanced practice nurses with expertise in neuroscience and are available to answer your questions.

Frequently Asked Questions


It is important that you bring all your medications with you to the hospital. We will review them with you, but also, on rare occasions they may not be available from our formulary. Your own supply could be the only way to get the medication.
If necessary, be sure to request medication refills before discharge.


With the exception of gum or caffeine products you may stick to your regular diet. Gum is prohibited since the chewing motion of the jaw interferes with the EEG recording. Caffeine is a stimulant and may interfere with your sleep/wake cycle while in the hospital. We would like to be able to control this cycle while you are with us.


Massachusetts General Hospital has a No Smoking Policy for the entire hospital. If you are a smoker and would like to request a nicotine patch or other smoking cessation aids during your admission, please let the physician know upon your admission.
This is permitted provided your equipment meets the safety requirements of the Massachusetts General Hospital. A TV is available in your room at a cost of $5 per day. A VCR will also be available for your use and videos are available from the hospital library at no charge.
You will be unable to leave your room while you are hooked up to the monitoring equipment that includes EEG leads. The cable is about 20 feet long, and allows relatively free movement within your room.
You will be unable to wash your hair or shower while you are hooked up to the EEG equipment. There is no electrical hazard, but such activities would disturb the recording contacts.
Please be sure to ring for a nurse before using the bathroom as they will need to assist you with the equipment.

Doctors and Schedules

Your admitting physician, (the doctor who is assigned to the Neurology Service for that month) will be in constant contact with the Epilepsy Fellow and the rest of your team and will stop by to see you if time permits. The Epilepsy Fellow in charge of your care during your stay will see you and review your EEG daily.
If your epilepsy physician was unable to discuss the monitoring findings with you before your discharge, check to be sure that you have a follow up appointment in the Epilepsy Clinic in about six to eight weeks after your discharge.
Please know that we do everything possible to assure you of your exact admission date.  Occasionally patients are in the hospital longer than anticipated, which may make it necessary to delay the next patient’s admission. This is rare, but does happen from time to time. Should you be delayed, you will be brought in on the very first day available after your scheduled admission date. We hope that this unusual situation won’t happen, but ask for your patience and understanding if it ever does.


Typically, we are unable to accommodate this request due to patient census, availability of hospital beds and other regulations. The final determination however is at the discretion of the charge nurse on Ellison 12 where you will be monitored and must be approved by the charge nurse.