Intensive Care Units

Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (Neuro ICU) patients receive intensive medical and nursing management for stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, seizure, head and spinal cord injuries, and post-surgical and post-interventional conditions.

Bronchoscopy

Bronchoscopy procedure in the Neuro ICU

Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit

Recognized Leadership in Neurology and Neurosurgery

Massachusetts General Hospital ranks fourth in the nation among 1,200 hospital neurology and neurosurgery departments, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2013-2014 Best Hospitals survey. Staff within the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (Neuro ICU), the nation’s first ICU dedicated to neurological and neurosurgical care, treat Mass General’s most critically ill and injured patients suffering from the most common to the rarest of disorders of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscle.

In the Fall of 2011, the Neuro ICU moved into the new Lunder Building, to a 22-bed, state-of-the-art facility designed for patient- and family-centered care. The new unit features two designated family rooms, one of which is connected to a patient room for immediate and close access to family support. A meditation room as well as an office for social workers enhances the comfort and resources for patients and their families. The new Neuro ICU features in-unit MRI and CT scanners, eliminating the need to transport patients to other areas of the hospital for these procedures. Each patient room is fitted with electroencephalogram equipment to continuously monitor brain wave activity.

What to Expect

Patients with neurological or neurosurgical conditions who require 24/7 medical and post-surgical intensive care receive their care from board-certified neurointensivists, board-certified neurosurgeons, a staff of 85 nurses trained in critical care and 11 neurointensivist fellows. Under the leadership of Medical Director Jonathan Rosand, MD, and Nursing Director Tara Tehan, MSN, MBA, RN, NE-BC, staff members collaborate within a multidisciplinary team that also includes:

  • Referring, specialist and sub-specialist physicians and surgeons
  • Social workers and psychiatrists
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Clinical pharmacists
  • Clinical nutritionists
  • Case managers
  • Critical care technicians
  • Chaplains

Completing the team are patients and their families, who participate in discussions and decisions around goals, treatment options and plans.

Please visit our Neuro ICU website for more information about us. You will also find resources for families such as our Family Tip Sheet (PDF), “Get to Know Me” poster (PDF) and Neurocritical Care Patient-Family Newsletter (PDF).

State-of-the-art Treatment

The Neuro ICU takes advantage of state-of-the-art technology and other resources to treat patients. Mass General is a leader in the use of therapeutic hypothermia, which lowers body temperature to reduce the risk of oxygen-loss brain injury. The Neuro ICU is also a leader in the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and other non-invasive technologies for acute brain injury and the clinical monitoring of patients with brain swelling injuries.

Sharing our Expertise in Neurocritical Care, Emergency Neurology and Stroke Treatment

Mass General neurointensivists share their expertise and years of training with more than 27 New England hospitals participating in our Partners TeleStroke Network. In the critical minutes after onset of a stroke or neurologic emergency, Neuro ICU intensivists provide acute clinical consultation to referring physicians through real-time videoconferencing and remote image review to determine the best course of treatment. This award-winning program of remote care, pioneered at Mass General, has inspired the growth of telestroke programs across the United States and Europe.

The Importance of Organ Donation

In 2008, Mass General received the Organ Donation Medal of Honor from the US Department of Health and Human Services in recognition of our “Take 5” program. Developed collaboratively by nurses, physicians and social workers, Take 5 facilitates a compassionate and effective approach for organ donation. Neuro ICU staff are leaders in supporting donor families through this process.

Expanding Knowledge Through Research

Mass General in 2011 introduced the Neuro ICU Acute Brain Injury Research Repository. This data and biospecimen bank, a collection of samples from consenting Neuro ICU patients, will be used to improve and expand knowledge of acute neurological and neurosurgical illness and injury.

Additional research delves into:

  • The genetics of devastating neurological diseases and how genetic differences may affect therapeutic options
  • The brain’s response to traumatic injury
  • Neurology rehabilitation through brain-computer technologies
  • Tailored therapy through comprehensive neuromonitoring

Nursing leadership in the Neuro ICU conducts research to improve the experience of patients, families and nursing staff. One current study explores traumatic brain injury from the perspective of the patient’s family. Another study, funded as a result of receiving the 2010 Yvonne L. Munn Nursing Research Award, researches the experience of new graduate nurses in the ICU relative to death and dying, in recognition of the importance of nursing in providing end-of-life care and the emotional impact this can have on nursing staff.

Training Future Neurointensivists

Mass General, as part of the Mass General/Brigham and Women’s/Harvard Medical School fellowship program, is home to the country’s oldest and largest training program in Neurocritical Care. Currently, 11 fellows are training to become critical care neurointensivists.

Neurocritical care nurses are also trained here. Experienced nurses undergo a unit-specific 12-week orientation program, including 6-day ICU consortium, under the guidance of a Clinical Nurse Specialist. A New Graduate in Clinical Care program trains new nurses hired for an ICU setting.

patient

#4 in the nation in neurology and neurosurgery

U.S. News & World Report ranks Mass General neurology and neurosurgery fourth among U.S. hospitals.