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The Michael Neely Neuroscience Center: Advanced care in a healing environment


The Michael Neely Neuroscience Center, the new neuro-critical care unit at Tufts Medical Center, is a smartly-designed haven for patients who are coping with brain injuries and illnesses. The state-of-the-art unit enables clinicians who focus on neurological care to collaborate more easily and provides patients and their families with an ideal healing environment.

Organized as part of the Michael Neely Center for Brain Tumor Care and Research, the Center is focused on caring for acutely ill neurosurgical and neurological patients. Opened in August 2011, clinicians on the unit treat those who have undergone surgery for brain tumors; those who have had neuro-interventional procedures for aneurysms or vascular malformations; and those who have experienced stroke, brain hemorrhage, neuromuscular failure or brain trauma.  The Center has a total of 15 beds, including eight critical care beds and seven step-down or “intermediate care” beds where neurointensivists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, trained neuro-nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers and physical therapists all work collaboratively to provide seamless care.

“We strive for excellence in the domains of clinical care, research and scholarship, and the teaching and training of our staff. But what sets us apart is the family-oriented focus of our center and a team of specialists all working together,” explained Anish Bhardwaj, MD, FAHA, FCCM, FAAN, now former Chairman of the Department Neurology.

The creation of the Center was made possible through a $5 million grant from The Cam Neely Foundation established by Boston Bruins legend and National Hockey League Hall-of-Famer Cam Neely and his siblings. Throughout its 16-year partnership with the Medical Center, the foundation has raised nearly $25 million to support initiatives across the Medical Center. The Michael Neely Neuroscience Center - named after the Neelys’ father, Michael, who lost his valiant battle with brain cancer in 1993 - is one such initiative.

“The Neuroscience Center is unique in its comprehensive care, multi-disciplinary approach and family oriented atmosphere; keeping with the Neely family’s vision of care,” Bhardwaj says.

This multi-disciplinary model is evident in the team of highly-specialized medical personnel who staff the unit.

“The idea is to bring neurology and neurosurgery together to co-manage patients by using a team of people dedicated to treating brain disease. This is advantageous compared to a general surgical ICU or a general medical ICU because we are primarily trained and focused on treating critical neurosurgical and neurological patients,” says Carl Heilman, MD, Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery.

Another unique facet of the new Center is the design, which was created following evidence-based practices and is truly state-of-the-art. “The Neely’s are very focused on an environment of healing,” says Heilman. “Changes were made to the engineering plans to provide as much natural light as possible and to provide enough space for the family to spend time together.”

The Center serves as a world-class resource for both patients and families experiencing the devastating effects of brain tumors and other neurological diseases. It features the most current diagnostic and treatment technology within a warm and caring environment.

All patient rooms are private and include an area for visiting family members. A separate consult room provides additional space for private discussions between family and staff. Another unique aspect is the fact that there is not a central nursing station. Instead, there is a nurse station at the entrance of each room, which enables staff to observe patients at all times and be available to assist as quickly as possible.