While at the Sir William Gowers Centre we will do everything we can to make you comfortable. The following information will help you to prepare for your visit. If you have any questions about your stay, please contact us on 01494 601 480.
Before You Arrive
People usually come to the assessment centre because their diagnosis is not clear, or their seizures are difficult to control with medication. The main reasons people come are:
- pre-surgical assessment (before surgery)
- post-surgical assessment (after surgery)
- video telemetry (simultaneous EEG and video)
- ambulatory telemetry (EEG where you can move around)
- medication optimisation (finding the best medication).
Our team of epilepsy experts will provide specialist tests and scans to understand your condition, consider the best treatment for you, and help you to manage your condition in your everyday life.
During the assessment you will be observed by staff. This helps us to record and classify your seizures, monitor your drug treatment and put care plans in place for you. We will also assess your needs to help you to be as independent as possible when you return home.
Forms to fill in
We will send you the following forms with your admission letter:
- disclosing medical information
- personal information
- medication information (this form needs to be signed by your GP).
Please fill in these forms and bring them with you when you come to the centre.
We will also need two passport photos of you for our records.
Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme
We will send you information on the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme. This scheme gives financial help to people who receive benefits (such as Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance) and who need NHS treatment at a hospital. Please bring your benefit confirmation letter or benefits book to show that you qualify for the scheme.Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (opens in a new window).
What to bring with you
Please bring the following items with you:
- All your current medication (anti-epileptic drugs and any other medication you take). Our on-site pharmacy carries a limited number of medications and ordering can take 48 hours.
- Your benefits books (or benefits entitlement letter) if you want to reclaim your travel costs (see above).
- Enough clothes for several days, including night wear, slippers, a dressing gown, an outdoor coat and shoes. There is a laundry in the centre that you can use. Please bring your own laundry detergent.
- A towel and wash bag with toiletries. We only allow safety razors and electric razors.
- £5 deposit for your storage area.
Please keep a small suitcase at the centre in case you need to be transferred to another building or hospital. Large suitcases cannot be left at the centre. Make sure that your belongings are all clearly labelled with your name.
Electrical items and specialist equipment
You may want to bring some electrical items with you, such as a hairdryer, shaver or personal stereo (with headphones). There is no computer available for you to use, but you can bring a laptop and dongle to connect to the internet. Electrical items must be checked by our electricians before you use them in the centre. Do not bring a TV into the unit. If you use a wheelchair or other specialist medical equipment, please bring this with you.
We cannot be responsible for any personal items that you bring into the centre.
When You Arrive
Please bring your completed forms to reception. We will admit you to the centre and introduce you to a nurse and key worker who will coordinate your stay. You will be given a full tour of the centre and all the facilities.
You will be given your bedroom number when you arrive.
Rooms will have a single wardrobe and several small drawers to keep your belongings in.
Please bring £5 as a deposit (which we will give back when you leave) for keys to a storage area in your room. This gives you somewhere safe to store your valuables here.
Before you go to sleep, please make sure that you can reach the call bell.
Your admission medical and health assessments
Soon after you arrive you will have an ‘admission medical’ with a doctor (called a ‘senior house officer’). This usually lasts for about two hours. Please bring someone with you, such as a relative, who knows you well. They will need to stay throughout this admission medical.
During your assessment
You will usually see many different specialists during your assessment. This may include:
your consultant and a senior house officer (SHO) EEG and MRI technicians a psychologist and psychiatrist a social worker and occupational therapist.
This multi-disciplinary team will focus on the medical, social and psychological impact of your epilepsy to try to bring your treatment in line with your personal needs.
Observation is a very important part of your assessment and staff will need to observe you throughout your stay. For this reason, we ask you not to leave the centre unless you are with a member of staff.
There is audio monitoring in the bedrooms in case you have a seizure while on your own.
There is also video and photographic observation throughout the centre. We will ask you to sign a consent form to show that you understand that this is a standard part of the assessment process.
EEGs and MRIs
Your first week may include an EEG (electroencephalogram) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). If you think you cannot have an MRI (for example, if you have a heart pacemaker or vagus nerve stimulator) please tell us as soon as possible. If you are not sure if you can have an MRI, please ask us.
If you need to have video telemetry, you will be asked to stay in a bedroom where a video camera will record your activities day and night. You will have a portable EEG which monitors your brain activity as you move around. Video telemetry means that if you have a seizure we can compare the electrical activity of your brain with what is happening to your body. The results can help identify the type of seizure you are having, and the most appropriate treatment. We will ask for your written consent before having video telemetry. This gives permission to hospital and centre staff to view your recordings.
Information regarding visitors, weekend leave and practicalities.
Medical appointments can be very important, but time is often limited, so it is useful to prepare beforehand. Here are some suggestions to help make the most of your appointment or review.
The following information will help you to prepare for your outpatient appointment at the Sir William Gowers Centre. If you have any questions about your appointment, please contact us on 01494 601435.
Contact details for the inpatients and outpatients department, travel information and how to find us.
You may be asked to come to the Sir William Gowers Centre as a day case admission. You will not be required to stay overnight so will not need to bring an overnight bag with you. However, you should bring your medication and continue to take it as normal.