Better, Together: The ALS Multidisciplinary Care Approach

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We have made a promise to the ALS community – we will make ALS livable for everyone, everywhere, until we can cure it. But it will take all of us—working together—to accomplish that goal. This includes finding ways to optimize treatments and care, and increasing access to care to help people with ALS live the way they want, with a better quality of life. That’s where multidisciplinary care comes in. 

We know multidisciplinary care for people living with ALS and their families is proven to extend survival and improve quality of life. “Multidisciplinary care is so key to the quality of life for people living with ALS and their families,” says Lori Banker-Horner, senior director of clinical programs at the ALS Association.

Here at the Association, we work with the best ALS physicians and clinics across the U.S. to make sure people living with ALS have access to the best specialized care no matter where they live. Our Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence™ and Recognized Treatment Centers™ provide people with ALS compassionate care in a supportive, family-oriented atmosphere. 

Our multidisciplinary care model brings together a team of specially-trained health care professionals who can address the many needs of people living with ALS, allowing them to receive care from each discipline during a single visit. The care team typically includes a neurologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, respiratory therapist, nurse, dietitian, speech language pathologist, social worker, mental health professional and an ALS Association liaison. 

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We feel blessed that we were able to get into our ALS clinic. We go into a room and seven or eight different (clinic team members) come in and see Tim. And at the end we have a summary of what each one of them has suggested.”

- Deanna Trausch, caregiver to her husband Tim who is living with ALS
 

In her role, Lori Banker-Horner works with our local Association care teams and clinics around the country forming clinic relationships, guiding ALS clinics through the process toward certification or recognition, and sharing new ideas and best practices from clinic to clinic. “These partnerships are vital for the ALS community and the families we serve.”

Lori explains that our work to expand our nationwide clinic network is very intentional, focusing on increasing access and utilization of this type of care. To date, our nationwide network has grown to include 84 Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence™, 17 Recognized Treatment Centers, and 125 affiliated clinics, with many others in the process of joining.

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Patients have hope because they know they are never alone. There’s a team of dedicated, caring people who make a difficult diagnosis easier to manage. Families have hope because they have education and support. Our team is determined to make sure life with ALS continues to have purpose and quality.”

- Dr. Tawfiq Al-Lahham, neurologist and director of the ALS clinic team at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
 

Having access to both care and support services should not be dependent on your zip code, and expanding access to multidisciplinary care is critical to making ALS a livable disease for everyone. Increasing our network of certified centers, treatment centers and affiliated clinics is just one way we’re working to make that happen.

To find an ALS Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence, Recognized Treatment Centers or ALS affiliated clinic, use our clinic locator map HERE.

Stay up to date on the latest information about ALS care, disease management and resources to by subscribing to our quarterly e-newsletter, Care Matters.

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To continue to follow stories about people living with ALS in the community and learn more about the disease, subscribe to receive our weekly blogs in your inbox HERE or follow us at als.org/blog.

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