If you or your loved one lives with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, you know that everyday activities like walking, talking or breathing eventually become difficult. As this incurable disease robs an individual of his or her independence and voluntary muscle movement, hospice care enables the patient to maintain dignity and receive comfort, and provides support and education to the patient’s caregivers.
How can hospice care help those with ALS or other neurologic diseases?
Hospice helps people to be cared for, supported and surrounded by the people and things they love. Hospice care often reduces the need to be hospitalized because our team provides medical care, along with training and education for caregivers, in the comfort of your home. The hospice team will evaluate the patient’s condition and update the plan of care as frequently as necessary. The goal of hospice is to relieve physical and emotional distress so patients can live as fully as possible, retain their dignity and remain comfortable at home.
Hospice’s plan of care for those with ALS includes:
- Expert pain and symptom management in the comfort of your home that addresses fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting, shortness of breath, loss of sleep and other symptoms of ALS
- A comprehensive evaluation by the hospice team
- Medications and non-medical interventions to appropriately respond to pain and other symptoms
- Around the clock availability and support via phone
- Assistance with advance care planning that aligns with the patient’s needs, priorities and goals
- Caregiving support, education and guidance from your hospice team
- Durable medical equipment, supplies and medications related to ALS
- Help with dressing, bathing, grooming and eating
- Emotional and spiritual support
- Grief support
Each patient is different and symptoms may vary, but there are a few signs consistent among those with ALS that commonly mean the disease has progressed to an advanced stage:
- Weight loss
- No longer eating
- Shortness of breath
If you see yourself or your loved one in this description, you can request a hospice evaluation. Your physician may also make this request, although you do not need to wait for a referral from a doctor. You can contact us at any time to find out how hospice can help you live well.