The ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic was established in January 2003. It is the only ALS center in Kentucky certified by the ALS Association and focuses on the care of the ALS patient. The clinic utilizes a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals from the ALS Association and UK HealthCare. Edward Kasarskis, MD, PhD, a neurologist specializing in the care of ALS patients, directs the clinic and its operations. The goal of the clinic is to provide optimal patient care, support and quality of life.
The ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic specializes in the care and treatment of those living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or primary lateral sclerosis (PLS). This clinic is for patients who have already been diagnosed with either ALS or PLS.
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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive motor neuron disease affecting the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons are small bundles of nerves that run from the brain to the spinal cord, then from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body.
The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons causes them to die, and the brain loses the connection with the muscle. The result is a lack of muscle control. This "disconnection" then causes the muscle to lose neuron nourishment and stimulation, resulting in muscle atrophy (becoming smaller).
will develop a treatment plan for the ALS patient by evaluating the patient's neurological function, determining medication needs, and monitoring the course of the ALS patient's disease.
will assist the physician with assessment of the ALS patient's needs and care.
will assess respiratory function of the ALS patient by administering a breathing test called a pulmonary function test. This will determine the degree of respiratory muscle involvement.
will assist ALS patients with maintaining muscle strength by providing exercise programs and assistive devices to optimize function and level of independence.
will assist patients with feeding, dressing, bathing and work performance through adaptive equipment and energy conservation. This will enable the patient to maintain their independence as the disease progresses.
will evaluate the patient's speech and swallowing function. He/She will educate the patient about the use of alternative equipment for communication (often called augmentative communication devices).
will provide a psychosocial assessment of the patient to determine the needs of the patient and/or family.
is available to assess a patient's need for assistive devices such as communication equipment, environmental controls, telephone access and computer devices.
will assist the patient by determining their daily caloric intake needs, nutritional support, and evaluate eating and swallowing difficulties.
Neurologists trained in neuromuscular conditions and other health care specialists work as a team to care for patients with this complex condition. Often this treatment is focused on relieving symptoms and maintaining good quality of life. Therapy may differ from person to person and modifications to the treatment plan may often be changed with progression of the disease.
Treatment may include:
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Most commonly, patients are referred through their primary care provider or neurologist.