HCN News & Notes

Baystate Franklin Medical Center Offers Stroke Support Group

GREENFIELD — Baystate Franklin Medical Center (BFMC) will offer a monthly stroke support group starting Tuesday, May 17 from 10 to 11 a.m. in its Conference Room C. The group will meet monthly, on the third Tuesday of the month. Diane Stephan, Emergency Department nurse educator and stroke coordinator at BFMC, will facilitate the meetings. The group is free, and no pre-registration is required. Refreshments will be served.

The goal of the new support group will be to promote an atmosphere of caring and cooperation, promote new goals and friendships for stroke survivors and their families and caregivers, and renew hope and encourage independence. All stroke survivors, their family members, and caregivers are welcome to attend. Attendees will be invited to share their experiences and discuss their concerns with medical professionals and with others who have had similar experiences.

Stephan joined the BFMC staff as Emergency Department nurse educator in 2013, and added her present role as stroke coordinator in October 2015. She is a graduate of UMass Dartmouth, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“I am excited to be starting this stroke support group,” she said. “I had been hoping to form one for some time, as I know there is a critical need for such a group in the Baystate Franklin community.”

It was partially because of encouragement from Greenfield resident Terry Ruggles that Stephan took the final steps to initiate a group. After his wife suffered a stroke in January, Ruggles began searching for a support group, but found nothing within 25 miles of Greenfield. He called BFMC to inquire about such a group, and was referred to Gina Campbell, regional director of quality at BFMC and Baystate Noble Hospital. Campbell, in turn, referred him to Stephan, who began researching the possibility of establishing a group.

“We were thrilled with the care my wife received when she had her stroke,” Ruggles said. “From the paramedics who were at our house before I even got off the phone with 911 to the Emergency Department staff, to the neurologist who actually spoke with me from his car to advise us on options — everyone was supportive and 100{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} attentive to our needs.”

Stephan hopes to feature guest presenters at some sessions, such as a neurologist, social worker, paramedic, or other medical professionals. Added Ruggles, “I will be at the first meeting with my ‘show-and-tell,’ my wife.”

For more information on the stroke support group, contact Diane Stephan at (413) 773-2641 or diane.stephan@baystatehealth.org.

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