The IWK Health Neurology Team helps by caring for Maritime children who have a variety of conditions that affect the brain, nerves, or muscles.
How we help
We care for children and youth who have been diagnosed with conditions such as headache, concussion, epilepsy (seizures), and other neurological conditions. The Neurologists participate in travel clinics to Yarmouth, New Glasgow, Cape Breton, PEI, and New Brunswick. Every year we see about 3,000 patients in the clinic, and perform about 800 Electroencephalograms (EEG or brain wave scans). We also provide support to patients and families in their schools and communities.
What to expect
We accept new patients (up to age 16) who have been referred by a physician or nurse practitioner. All new referrals are seen on a medical referral basis and are triaged (assessed) according to need. Follow-up appointments are scheduled as needed.
You'll receive an appointment letter in the mail or a phone call with your child’s appointment date and time. Please call 902-470-3992 to confirm your appointment, and let us know of any changes to your address, phone number, or next of kin. It’s very important that you make every effort to attend your scheduled appointment and that you arrive on time. If your child is having an EEG, this test is time sensitive. A limited amount of time is allotted for each test and several patients are booked. If you arrive late, your EEG may have to be rebooked and there may be a significant delay in rebooking due to available resources.
We’re located on the 8th floor of the Children’s Building (use the blue elevators). If it is your first visit with the Neurology Clinic, you'll receive a set of questions to answer about your child. Please fill this out as best you can prior to coming to the visit, and bring it along with you. This will help answer some of the questions that the Neurologist will ask.
Please let us know before you come to your appointment if you will need any help when you are here for your appointment, if you think your child may need some extra support to participate in the visit or with any planned tests, or if you require an interpreter for the visit.
Please bring the following items along with you:
- Your completed questionnaire
- Shorts for your child to wear when examined
- Toys or books
- Your child’s medications or a picture of the medication bottles
- Notebook to write down notes about the visit
At your visit, you may meet with one of the neurology nurses or medical residents prior to your appointment with the neurologist. Be prepared to discuss:
- questions or concerns you have about your child
- questions that your child’s other care providers may have (babysitters, teachers, relatives)
- changes with your child since he/she was last seen
- current medications
- concerns with medication side effects
- your child’s developmental history
The health care provider may complete a physical examination of your child. You may also be booked to meet other health care professionals as required, like a dietician, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, social worker, or child life specialist.
Some tests that your child may have done when he or she is here include:
- Electroencephalogram (EEG or brain wave scan). This is a harmless, painless test that records the electrical impulses from the brain onto a digital display. It can be used to help diagnose epilepsy. Children usually need to be sleep deprived for this test. Some brain wave abnormalities are seen better when the child is asleep. The amount of sleep deprivation depends on the child’s age.
- Computerized axial tomography (CT scan). This is an x-ray that lets us see an image of the inside of the head or body. The child lies on a table and a camera moves around the head and takes x-rays of the brain.
- Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI). This is also a painless test. It uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce pictures of the brain. It does not use x-rays. The child has to lie still on a table. Some children may need to be sedated for this.
- Electromyelogram (EMG). This is a test that checks how healthy the muscles are and the nerves that control the muscles.
Some children will get admitted under the Neurology service to one of the inpatient units for a number of possible reasons, including coordination of investigations, epilepsy surgery, start a specialized diet for epilepsy (Ketogenic Diet or Modified Atkins Diet), long term video EEG monitoring.
Who you’ll meet
The Neurology Department consists of a team that includes:
- Registered Nurses
- Registered EEG (electroencephalogram or brain wave scan) technologists
- booking clerk
- registration clerk
- administrative assistants
- allied Health Care Providers (such as Social Workers, Dietitians, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, Child Life Specialists etc)
You may also meet or speak with learners such as medical/nursing or EEG students and residents.
After your child is registered, we may get their weight, height and head circumference using a measuring tape. You and your child will then meet with your health care provider in an office/examination room.
Social Workers focus on improving the physical, mental health and well-being of patients and families by working on the issues that patients and families identify as concerns for themselves. They’re available to meet with you and your family to find creative and practical way to help with personal, social, or financial worries. We know that serious medical problems, sudden illness, or mental health concerns place an enormous amount of stress on families at home, school, and work. If you're feeling overwhelmed, worried, depressed, or anxious it may help to speak to a Social Worker.
Physiotherapists at the IWK help children, youth, and women achieve their highest level of physical functioning by providing them with a personalized treatment plan based on their specific needs.
Occupational Therapy serves children and youth who have limitations in participating in day-to-day activities, including feeding, dressing, working, playing, and communicating. IWK Occupational Therapists assess a child's/youth's ability to perform their daily routine, and work with the family to help the child reach their maximum potential.
The IWK's Clinical Nutrition Team provides nutrition care, education, and counselling to IWK patients and their families. We work as a team with Food Services to provide a healthy diet for patients in the Health Centre. A Ketogenic Dietitian is also part of the IWK Neurology Team, providing assessments and treatment plans for children receiving a ketogenic diet for Epilepsy treatment.
Child Life Specialists
Health care experiences can be stressful for children and youth. These experiences may cause fear, confusion, and changes in behaviour. Children and youth need to know what is happening to them. With the help of child life staff, children and youth can master these feelings and learn to cope with their hospitalization and health care experiences through play, education, and support.