How it Began

Our history begins with founder Fran O’Connell, a Holyoke native raised in a tradition of first responders and public service.

While Fran’s path could have easily led to law enforcement or firefighting, Fran found his passion in nursing.  Fran received a BS in nursing from Columbia University, New York, NY; and earned an MS as a family nurse practitioner from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Following graduation, Fran served as an officer in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and upon returning to Holyoke earned a rare accomplishment within the elder care community as one of a few area geriatric care managers to simultaneously practice as a nurse practitioner.

Over his medical career Fran gained extensive experience in home health, hospice and palliative, dementia, and geriatric care. He received his earliest lessons on the meaning and importance of home, family, individuality and life when he was a boy watching the unconditional care and love provided to elder members of his family in his own home.  Speak to Fran and you learn those experiences did more than shape the man he is—they shaped his philosophy toward elder care.

Seeing an opportunity to enrich the lives of others, Fran saw an unfilled need in the greater Holyoke area and founded O’Connell Care at Home in 1987. He wanted to recreate what he had discovered in his own youth—the kind of personalized care that tends to the needs of the mind and spirit as much as to the needs of the body. Care that would help elders, chronically or terminally ill, or otherwise impaired individuals maintain as much of the life they’ve come to cherish.

Though Fran is personally less active in the business today, his philosophies and personal commitment to delivering quality in-home care and keeping true to the importance of treating all people as unique individuals with needs both physical and emotional, left an indelible and unmistakable imprint on the organization of today.

Fran O'Connell older picture in the jungle with a horse

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