The ALS Clinic offers a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan to maximize function and quality of life. The ALS clinic evaluates the patient’s neurological function and determines a care plan and medication needs.
The multidisciplinary team includes a:
- Neurologist, to develop a treatment plan and monitor condition as it progresses
- Nurse clinician, to assist in the assessment of the patient’s ever-changing needs
- Psychologist, to help patients and families with the social and emotional aspects of the disease
- Respiratory therapist, to help evaluate the respiratory status and provide techniques to improve respiratory function
- Physical therapist, to provide exercise programs to assist in maintaining muscle strength, and assistive technology to help the patient be as independent as possible as the disease progresses
- Occupational therapist, to help the patient with activities of daily living to help maintain independence
- Speech therapist, to evaluate speech and swallowing and educate the patient on safe techniques
- Social worker, to assist with the social and insurance needs of the patient and family
- Assistive technology consultants, to assess the need for assistive devices, such as powered mobility, telephone and computer access devices and augmentative communication
- Registered dietician, to help determine nutritional needs and recommendations to improve caloric intake
- ALS Association patient care coordinator, to assist patients and families with community resources and support groups
Some of the tests offered are:
- Laboratory tests
- Muscle and/or nerve biopsy: Removal of tissue or cells from the body for examination under a microscope
- Lumbar puncture: Used to measure pressure in the spinal canal and brain, and to determine if there is an infection or other issue.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): For detailed images of organs and structures within the body
- Electrodiagnostic tests (such as electromyography and nerve conduction study): To evaluate and diagnose disorders of the muscles and motor neurons
There is no cure for ALS. Treatment is determined by the physician and patient and varies based on factors including age, overall health, medical history, the extent of the disease and expectations.
For most people with ALS, primary treatment focuses on the management of symptoms and may include physical, occupational, speech, respiratory and nutritional therapies. Currently, there is one medication proven to help slow the progression of ALS. Other medications may help treat symptoms such as muscle cramping.
Managing the symptoms of ALS is a process that may be challenging. However, there are many community resources available for support and assistance.