Stroke Care

HealthAlliance Hospital is designated as a Primary Stroke Service Center by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This is  based on the hospital's ability to rapidly diagnose and treat stroke patients around-the-clock.

Using an advanced videoconferencing system, HealthAlliance Hospital physicians are in direct contact with the highly experienced stroke neurologists at the UMass Memorial Medical Center enabling them to quickly make a diagnosis and initiate care for stroke victims arriving at HealthAlliance Hospital. Studies show that this very timely intervention greatly increases the chance to recover fully from a stroke.

If a stroke patient requires the highly specialized services of a major academic medical center, UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester is just minutes away via Life Flight air ambulance. 

UMass Memorial has prepared a Stroke Awareness booklet to provide additional information about strokes. In addition to stroke prevention information, the booklet includes information on the two types of stroke, the latest treatments for stroke and rehabilitation for a healthy life after a stroke.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

Act FAST if you think someone is having a stroke:

Face - Ask the person to smile. Does one side of his/her face droop?
Arm - Can the person raise his/her arms above his/her head?
Speech - Is the person's speech slurred or incoherent?
Time - If you suspect the person is experiencing a stroke, call 911.

A physician may identify certain signs that indicate if a person is at risk for stroke. Or, a person may experience one or more of the following symptoms to warn of stroke:

  • Sudden weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Loss of speech or trouble talking or understanding language
  • Sudden loss of vision, particularly in only one eye
  • Sudden, severe headache with no apparent cause
  • Unexplained dizziness, loss of balance or coordination (especially if associated with any of the above symptoms)

Transient Ischemic Attacks

About one-third of all strokes are preceded by one or more "mini strokes" known as transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). TIAs can occur days, weeks or even months before a stroke.

TIAs are caused by temporary interruptions in the blood supply to the brain. The symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time, usually from a few minutes to several hours. For instance, if a person experiences a sudden loss of vision, or weakness in an arm or leg that disappears, he/she might be having a TIA.

Because TIAs are temporary and the body soon returns to normal, it’s easy to ignore them or to believe that the problem has disappeared. TIAs are often early warning signs of a more serious and debilitating stroke in the future.