An estimated 33% of nursing home patients have some level of dementia.  Many also manage severe neurological issues, as nursing homes face a shortage of specialty physicians to render quality care in their facilities.  While primary care/internal medicine physicians likely round in the facility, the presence of the on-site neurologist, cardiologist and/or techs to administer certain testing is less widespread.

Northwest Neurology & Neurodiagnostic Center is more than a stand-alone practice.  It also mobilizes its army of technicians for the sole purpose of contributing to the long-term health of the nursing home patient, often with the goal of pro-active symptom management and/or preventative care.  This initiative is called: 

 The Neurological Institutional Patient Treatment & Education Program:

One of the primary tools used is the EEG.  Because an EEG is a test that detects abnormalities in the brain waves, or in the electrical activity of the brain, a neurologist trained to read and interpret these results can be a powerful force in long-term health.  Northwest’s Dr. Tessy Jenkins is such a practitioner and leads the Northwest team.

She is board-certified in Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology with added competency in Epilepsy monitoring.  

She is also certified by the American Board of Disability Analysts. As a stroke champion, she oversaw the certification of Sinai Grace Hospital-Detroit as a stroke center of excellence. 

The Neurological Institutional Patient Treatment & Education Program serves patients of all ages.

It’s a partnership that the long-term community embraces. 

Now let’s move to the more practical application:

What is an EEG?

The EEG does not tell us the physical structure of the brain, the MRI does that. The brain gives out random electrical activity through a network of neurons that produce tiny electrical signals. The signals are recorded on a computer where they form brainwave patterns that are then interpreted by a highly trained neurologist called a clinical neurophysiologist. Dr Jenkins is a clinical neurophysiologist.

Does this patient have seizures? Seizures are picked up as abnormal electrical activity. Unless a person is physically observed to have a convulsion or its equivalent, we may never know if an episode of confusion or a change in the level of consciousness is a seizure. This can only be determined by the EEG.

Is my seizure patient responding to prescribed medications? EEG not only can diagnose seizures but is also used to monitor treatment of seizures. It is able to give information about the effectiveness of drugs administered for seizures, the possibility of overdose, and possibly a lack of benefit.

What is the nature of an unusual spell? The so-called faints, fits and funny turns are very common in neurological practice. Seizures have been known to occur as choreographic movements, cycling movements, running around in circles, drop attacks, and simply blank staring. The EEG can evaluate and determine the nature of these unexplained spells.

Does your patient have abnormal sleep patterns? The EEG can be used to analyze sleep and can diagnose certain sleep disorders. A continuous ambulatory EEG where the recording of the EEG is performed anywhere from 24-72hours can help abnormal patterns in the different stages sleep.

The EEG can help to assess and monitor brain function after a head injury or stroke. Specific waveforms are correlated with specific stages of consciousness and alertness. The EEG is one of the tests that help in the determination of brain death.

This explains well why such a partnership with the skilled nursing community is of value to all patients.  For more information or a 1 on 1 with the program’s Patient Ambassador, please send an email to:

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