Mercy Health Lourdes epilepsy unit

Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital has announced the opening of its newly renovated epilepsy monitoring unit, or EMU. The renovations include doubling its capacity from two to four rooms, new equipment and other improvements for patients.

Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital has announced the opening of its newly renovated epilepsy monitoring unit, which doubled its capacity for patients.

“We are up and running,” said Whitney Evans Snardon, director of the neuroscience service line.

“We haven’t done any pointed marketing for the unit. We have done pretty much grass roots and word of mouth and the unit has stayed fairly full, so for me, that speaks volumes of how great of a provider we have in (Dr.) Jim Ed Couch, as well as the nursing staff up there. They just make it such a great time.”

The renovated EMU, located on the hospital’s fourth floor, uses EEGs, or electroencephalograms, to evaluate electrical activity within a patient’s brain and that’s a primary diagnostic tool used for epilepsy, according to Mercy Health. The unit provides in-patient epilepsy monitoring for adults and children, who have experienced seizures or have been diagnosed with epilepsy and need help with its management.

Snardon said there’s a huge need for the unit. After opening in 2016, she recalled it started filling up quickly and had a “very long” waiting list, so they felt the need to expand. The EMU renovations included doubling its capacity from two to four rooms, new equipment, new sleeper sofas, new flooring, flat screen TVs and other improvements.

“The new unit is perfect for my needs caring for patients,” added Couch, an epileptologist.

“Even more importantly, it is perfect for the needs of our patients. The rooms are very homey, especially those designated for our pediatric patients, as we made every effort to make the surroundings comforting to lessen any anxieties our youngest patients may have about being in the hospital. I would like to thank the generous donors who made this new unit possible.”

The expansion project cost approximately $380,000, which was largely funded by donors to Mercy Health Foundation- Lourdes, according to Snardon. The hospital foundation committed $300,000 and also received grant funding from the Delta Regional Authority.

“From my perspective, this really shows the power of philanthropy and that local donors were able to see a health care need in our community and be able to fund that project,” foundation president Jessica Toren said.

“It was a combination of event fundraising and individual donors and planned giving and our local auxiliary — it took (that) to make all of this happen, but it came together to provide a fantastic service that was needed in our community.”

She said the foundation was “thrilled” to be part of the project and having the unit in Paducah keeps people in the community, meaning that patients don’t have to travel to other cities for the services or wait as long to receive quality health care.

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