DPH Names HMC ‘Designated Stroke Center’

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center has received Primary Stroke Service designation from the Mass. Dept. of Public Health following a recent extensive inspection of the facility.


A facility’s ability to obtain this licensure and retain it demonstrates that a comprehensive program is in place to meet the needs of acute stroke patients at the hospital. Efforts to establish an Acute Stroke Program began at HMC 2001, relying on the expertise of various clinical disciplines from physicians, nurses, nutritionists, and therapists to pharmacists and patient educators.

Each year more than 700,000 people suffer a stroke. About 500,000 of those are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent.

At Holyoke Medical Center, stroke is among the top five diagnoses that physicians treat.

“This is highly important for us,” said Dr. Karen Ferroni, medical director at HMC. “The recognition from the state means we adhere to the highest standards of care for these patients. We are committed to, and able to provide quality of care that is considered state-of-the-art.”

That state-of-the-art approach involves a broad spectrum of professionals, said Ferroni, including primary care physicians, hospitalists, the Emergency Department, Radiology, Pharmacy and Rehab Services — including Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech & Hearing. Another key component in the Medical Center’s program is its commitment to community education pertaining to stroke awareness.

The medical center’s Stroke Service director is Dr. M. Zubair Kareem, a neurologist with specific training in stroke treatment. He works closely with professionals throughout the hospital, including Stroke Service Coordinator Joanne M. Kennedy, R.N.

In 2001, the medical center began taking initial steps toward this goal. At that time, a group of physicians and staff assessed the care provided.