A study led by Dr Rohit Shankar, Neuro-Psychiatrist, Cornwall Foundation Trust, Peninsula Medical & Dental School, has found that the use of activity monitoring in epilepsy assessment can help to clarify and understand seizure patterns, identify staff training needs, and ensure that the least intrusive care is provided.

The aim of the study was to see if monitoring a person with epilepsy’s sleep pattern over a period of time would increase understanding of potential nocturnal seizures, and therefore their care requirements.  Led by Dr Shankhar, the team used ‘Just Checking’, a web-based activity monitoring system, to assess the sleep patterns of five individuals with moderate to severe learning disabilities.

Karen Hagenow, the Occupational Therapist who worked on this study, explained the use of ‘Just Checking’ meant they were able to assess sleep patterns more objectively than traditional observations “Unobtrusively assessing someone’s night time activity over an extended period of time is useful when assessing their needs and capabilities.  Activity monitoring ensures routines really are understood and care really is person-centred. ”

The information provided by the charts also ensures that care can be provided by the least intrusive means. Caryn Jory, Epilepsy Specialist Nurse said “This is an innovative use of technology to gain a more comprehensive understanding of sleep patterns, which helps inform epilepsy management.”

Results have been presented as a poster presentation at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare London 2013, the South West Epilepsy in Learning Disabilities Conference, and the study has been long listed for the NHS High Impact Innovations Programme, which promotes the rapid adoption of the best, transformative, most innovative products, services and clinical practice.