Neurocritical Care and Emergency Neurology

Patients with serious brain and nervous system conditions receive individualized, expert, compassionate care throughout their MGH Emergency Department and Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit stay.

Our expert multidisciplinary teams use the most advanced therapies available and treat both the physical and emotional impact of disease on patients as well as their families.

Our physicians and nurses care for patients and their families in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit, the Emergency Department and, through our extensive video telestroke network, in emergency departments throughout New England. We treat patients with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, subdural hemorrhages, encephalitis, refractory seizures, paralyzing neuromuscular conditions, as well those who have undergone complex neurosurgical and neuro-interventional procedures. A combination of world-class training and integration of cutting-edge technology allows us to deliver the best and most advanced care to our patients.

A Collaborative Multidisciplinary Approach

Our patient and family-centered care is centered on close collaboration with neurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, physiatry, psychiatry, and other consulting services that offer highly specialized expertise in the care of complex critically ill patients. In addition, we work within a multidisciplinary team of nurses, case managers, nutritionists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, social workers and speech-language pathologists.

What to Expect

Whether in the Emergency Department or in the intensive care unit, our staff knows that families have a significant impact on the way patients respond to health and illness. Families provide a form of support that the patient care team cannot give.  We believe healing is optimized when clinicians and patients/families partner to support our patients’ values and preferences.  To this end, we do not have specific visiting hours in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit, but instead request that visiting be based upon each individual.

The patient care team may ask about medical history, allergies, & any medications our patients take at home. We know that the intensive care unit experience can be very stressful.  Our staff is committed to supporting Our staff is committed to supporting patients and families during their stay in the Emergency Department or Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit. In the NeuroICU, physician team rounds occur every morning and generally last through until lunchtime. During rounds, physicians may have time for a brief “check in” with family members.  Longer meetings between families and the care team are scheduled for the afternoons.

The care delivered in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (NeuroICU) is unique. Patients who are critically ill due to arrhythmia, respiratory failure, trauma, and sepsis are complicated by the presence of neurologic disease. In addition to hemodynamic monitoring, the neurologic assessment can require monitoring of intracranial pressure or cerebral oxygen demand. Problems of fluid balance are complicated by problems of cerebral edema and endocrine abnormalities. Injury to the nervous system affects the mind, body, and spirit. Changes in our ability to communicate, move, and feel often result in drastic life changes. Confusion, delirium, and aphasia contribute to already stressful situations. Therefore, collaboration within our multidisciplinary team is crucial in transitioning patients to general care and providing informational and emotional support to both patients and their loved ones.

Supporting patients’ families is an important aspect of our care. Families are vital to our patient's progress and recovery, and we provide a wide array of resources for their support and education. As an example, the innovative Attending Nurse program has introduced a single nurse as a point person for patients and families throughout their hospital stay, including the complex transfer of care from the NeuroICU to the Neurosciences General Care Units. Please be sure to reach out to your attending nurse.

Our Mission

The MGH Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit provides expert, compassionate care to individuals with serious conditions of the brain and nervous system. Our goal is to strengthen resiliency and enhance recovery.  Bringing together a multidisciplinary team of individuals with the broadest range of medical, humanistic and scientific expertise, we seek to be the world’s pre-eminent Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit.

The components of our mission are to

  • deliver patient and family-centered care that is both the most compassionate and most technologically advanced care available.
  • adhere to the highest standards of patient safety.
  • work together as a collaborative, respectful and synergistic multidisciplinary team of outstanding nurses, physicians, therapists and hospital staff.
  • provide an outstanding training and practice environment that nurtures the best hearts and minds in medicine, nursing and science.
  • produce the scientific advances essential for improving the fate of tomorrow’s patients.

History of the MGH Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit

Created in 1969, the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit was founded by two MGH neurosurgeons, Drs. Robert Ojemann and and Nicholas Zervas, with the close collaboration of an eminent neurologist, J. Phillip Kistler. From the initial efforts of these two pioneers, the MGH NeuroICU has grown from four beds to the current state of the art 22 bed unit.

There have been many milestones along the way. In 1978, a neurologist, Dr. Allan Ropper and an anesthesiologist, Dr. Sean Kennedy became the first Co-Directors of the MGH NeuroICU, and ushered in a became the first Co-Directors of the MGH NeuroICU, and ushered in what was then a first-of-its-kind critical care collaboration. During this time period, the NeuroICU developed the first neuroscience nursing training rotations, quickly developing what has become one of the world’s most talented NeuroICU nursing staffs.

In 1993, under the direction of Dr. Walter Koroshetz, the ICU expanded into an 18 bed ICU on Blake 12 and became known as a hub for the treatment of acute stroke and the growth of acute stroke therapies. Under the leadership of Dr. Lee Schwamm, the MGH Telestroke Network was created, which allows for acute remote consultation for neurologic emergencies in over 30 hospitals in three states. This pioneering telestroke network has become the largest in the country, and remains so today.

The training of neurointensivists and vascular neurologists has always been a core feature of the MGH NeuroICU. From its origins the fellowship training programs have trained more leaders in the field. From 2002 to 2011, under the leadership of Dr. Jonathan Rosand, the fellowship training program expanded dramatically, evolving into our current Neurocritical Care and Vascular Neurology fellowship programs, which together represent the largest training program of its kind in the world.

In 2011, the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit moved into a new 22 bed, state of the art facility in the Lunder Building. In addition to expanding our space for patients and families, the new NeuroICU contains numerous technological advances, which enable us to continue to serve our patients with the latest generation of cutting-edge monitoring and treatments.

Today, the MGH Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit is lead by Medical Director Dr. Jonathan Rosand and Nursing Director Tara Tehan. Dr. Anne-Christine Duhaime serves as Neurosurgical Director, and Dr. W. Taylor Kimberly and Dr. Eric Rosenthal serve as Associate Medical Directors. Mary Guanci, our Nurse Clinician Specialist is a national leader in Nursing Education.

Deformational Plagiocephaly

Deformational (or positional) plagiocephaly refers to a misshapen shape of the head from repeated pressure to the same area of the head.

Epilepsy and Seizures

Epilepsy is a neurological condition involving the brain that makes people more susceptible to having seizures.

Spinal Cord Injury

Acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is due to a traumatic injury that can either result in a bruise (also called a contusion), a partial tear, or a complete tear (called a transection) in the spinal cord.

Stroke

Stroke, also called brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted.

MGH Russell Museum Lunchtime Lecture Series

Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation invites you to attend its latest lecture in its lunchtime series

A young man recovers from seizures and coma

The Neuro Critical Care Team’s excellence in service and innovation bring a young man back to life after epileptic seizures leave him comatose for five months. Features Dr. Rosand and Dr. Cole.

Partners Neurology Residency

Neurology residents, program graduates, faculty members, and the education director talk about training at Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

MGH Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit

Lunder Building
6th floor
15 Parkman Avenue
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 857-238-5600
Fax: 857-238-5601

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes