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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Irene M. Elliott, MHSc, NP Peds, RN (EC)

The Hospital for Sick Children
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

University of Toronto
Clinical Associate
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto

Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 7192
Fax: 416-813-6334
Email: irene.elliott@sickkids.ca

Brief Biography

Irene Elliott is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Neurology.  For many years the focus of her clinical practice, education, and research has been children with epilepsy and their families. She is part of a comprehensive Epilepsy program, whose team members carry out state-of-the-art investigations, medical/surgical treatment, and psychosocial care of children with difficult to control epilepsy.

Prior to her current role as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (1995 to present), Irene held numerous positions at SickKids as a staff nurse(1972-1974); evening supervisor (1977-1980); and nurse manager in General Paediatrics (1974-1977); Neurology (1980-1984); and Critical Care Unit (1984-1988) and Clinical Nurse Specialist (1990-1995).

Background Education
Irene obtained her Diploma in Nursing from Saint John General Hospital (1966); a Master of Health Science from McMaster University (1990); and an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Diploma from the University of Toronto (1995). Most recently (2008), she met the new credential criteria set out by the College of Nurses of Ontario (included a pediatric nurse practitioner exam) for Nurse Practitioners and is a Registered Nurse in the extended class as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.

Clinical Care Activities
As a member of the comprehensive epilepsy program, Irene provides inpatient/outpatient medical management, psychosocial support and education to a select group of children with intractable epilepsy and their families, including: children admitted to the epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) for surgical and medical evaluation; a select group of children followed through the ambulatory epilepsy clinic (includes on-going medical management and support via telephone/email); and coordination, education, and support for children (and their families) undergoing epilepsy surgery.

Education Role
Irene provides education to nursing staff on topics related to the care of children with epilepsy. In addition, she is a frequently invited speaker on the topic of childhood epilepsy at educational sessions for Epilepsy Chapter Parents/Staff; School/School Board Staff; and Community Health Professional Agency Staff.

Research Interests

Irene's major research interest has been quality of life in children who undergo epilepsy surgery and other interventions. Several of these studies have received external funding.
Research Activities

• Co-investigator (P.I. SickKids, Dr. O.C. Snead): Seizure Response Dogs for Adolescents with Epilepsy: A prospective, case-controlled study.
• Co-investigator with several other investigators (P.I. Dr. O.C. Snead): Investigation of an Epilepsy Epidemic in Cameroon  
• Co-investigator (P.I. SickKids, Dr. O.C. Snead): A retrospective, single-centre, descriptive chart review to characterize the health system utilization patterns associated with the neurological evaluation for surgery of children and adolescents referred to an epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) for video electroencephalogram (VEEG) and to characterize the role of magnetoencephalography (MEG) in this process. STUDY SPONSOR & COORDINATION: St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) coordinating study through Programs for Assessment of Technology in Health (PATH), FUNDING SUPPORT: Ontario Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care


  •  E Donner,  N Makhani, IM Elliott Mothers’ Perspectives of Quality of Life in Children with Developmental Delay and Epilepsy After Implantation of a Vagal Nerve Stimulator, 2007-2008
  • ML Smith, IM Elliott, L Lach, A Lowe and CHEO-collaborators in study with CHEO: Long-Term Outcome of Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery (Funded by Ontario Mental Health Foundation, 2001-2003, $116,500)
  • ML Smith, IM Elliott, and Lucy Lach, Longitudinal Study of Outcome for Children Undergoing Epilepsy Surgery, (funded by Ontario Mental Health Foundation, 1999-2001, $97,000)
  • ML Smith, IM Elliott, and Lucy Lach, Quality of Life Outcome after PediatricEpilepsy Surgery: A Multidimensional, Multimethod Study, (funded by OMHF, 1997-1999, $95,000)
  • Co-vestigators HSC, IM Elliott & ML Smith; Primary Investigator, Dr. Gabriel Ronen, McMaster Health Science Centre, Multi-centre Study: Validation of a Canadian Quality of Life Instrument (HRQL) for Childhood Epilepsy (funded by Bloorview-MacMillan Foundation and Glaxo Wellcome Pharmaceutical Company)

Scholarly Activities
Irene has presented numerous papers and posters relating to childhood epilepsy at local, national and international conferences/meetings.

External Funding

From 1997-2003, Irene was a co-investigator for three research studies funded by the Ontario Mental Health Foundation. This research prospectively examined effects of paediatric epilepsy surgery on multiple areas of functioning of the child that determine overall quality of life (physical, social, emotional, behavioural, cognitive/academic, family).

  • ML Smith, IM Elliott, L Lach, A Lowe & CHEO collaborators: Long-Term Outcome of Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery, funded by Ontario Mental Health Foundation (OMHF), 2001-2003
  • ML Smith, IM Elliott, and Lucy Lach, Longitudinal Study of Outcome for Children Undergoing Epilepsy Surgery, funded by OMHF, 1999-2001
  • ML Smith, IM Elliott, and Lucy Lach, Quality of Life Outcome after Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery: A Multidimensional, Multimethod Study, funded by OMHF, 1997-1999


  • Recognition (2010) as one of 90 notable nurses for 90 year anniversary, Faculty of Nursing, Univ. of Toronto
  • Recipient (2009) of Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing Award of Distinction, Univ. of Toronto
  • Recipient (2008) Claire Chee Award for Nursing Excellence in Child Neurology Nursing, Association for Child Neurology Nurses, Santa Clara, CA
  • Inducted (2006) as Honorary Member of the Hospital for Sick Children, Nursing Alumnae
  • Recipient (2006) Grace Evelyn Simpson Reeves Award for Excellence in Nursing Research, Hosp. for Sick Children
  • Outstanding Presentation Award (2005) (Building Partnerships to Address School Issues in Childhood Epilepsy), World Federation of Neuroscience Nurses Federation Meeting, 9th Quadrennial Congress Barcelona, Spain
  • Recipient (2006) of the Humanitarian Award - Hospital for Sick Children Family Advisory Committee
  • Recipient (2002 & 2006) Nurse’s Travel Award– American Epilepsy Society Meeting, Seattle, Washington & Los Angeles CA. (supported by a grant from Elan Pharmaceuticals)
  • Family Nomination (2001) for Epilepsy Circle of Support Award – Certificate of Recognition Epilepsy Awareness
  • Recipient (1997), award for Excellence in Advanced Nursing Practice Hospital for Sick Children


Irene has published over 30 refereed papers/chapters as a first author or co-author. The following are recent publications focusing on aspects of cognitive and psychosocial well-being in children with epilepsy:

  • Lach LM, Elliott I, Giecko T, Olds J, Snyder T, McCleary L, Whiting S, Lowe A, Nimigon J, Smith ML.  (2010). Patient-Reported Outcome of Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery:  Social Inclusion or Exclusion as Young Adults? Epilepsia, Epilepsia. 51(10): 2089–97. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2010.02584.x
  • Hum, K.M., Smith, M.L., Lach, L., & Elliott, I.M. (2010). Self perceptions of social function two years after pediatric epilepsy surgery. Epilepsy & Behavior, 17, 354-359.
  • Smith ML, Elliott I, Lah S. (2010). Postoperative Neuropsychological and Psychological Outcome. In: Oguz Cataltepe and George Jallo (Eds). Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery: Preoperative Assessment and Surgical Treatment, Thieme Med. Pub.Inc., New York, 332-338.
  • Smith ML, Elliott IM, Naguiat A (2009): Sex differences in episodic memory among children with intractable epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior. 14: 247-249
  • Elliott IM, Lach L, Kadis D, Smith ML. (2008) Psychosocial Outcomes in Children Two Years after Epilepsy Surgery: Has Anything Changed? Epilepsia. 49(4):634-641
  • Benifla M, Rutka J, Otsubo H, M. Lamberti-Pasculli M, Elliott, I. Sell, E, RamachandranNair R, Ochi A, Weiss S, Snead III, O. (2008). Long-term seizure and social outcomes following temporal lobe surgery for intractable epilepsy during childhood. Epilepsy Research, 82(2-3): 133-138
  • Smith ML, Elliott I, & Lach L. (2006) Memory Outcome after pediatric epilepsy surgery: Objective and subjective perspectives. Child Neuropsychology. 12:151-64
  • Elliott IM, Lach L, Smith ML. (2005) I just want to be normal: A qualitative study exploring how children and adolescents view the impact of intractable epilepsy on their quality of life.  Epilepsy & Behavior 7:664-78
  • Smith ML, Elliott I, & Lach L. (2004) Cognitive, psychosocial and family function one year after pediatric epilepsy surgery. Epilepsia  45(6):650-60
  • Kadis DS. Stollstorff, M. Elliott I. Lach L. Smith ML. (2004) Cognitive and psychological predictors of everyday memory in children with intractable epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior  5(1):37-43.