Supplied by Kathleen Modlin

Health care providers and patients face many challenges in meeting the ongoing care requirements of a progressive degenerative disease, such as ALS — or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Providing an environment where that individual can achieve the greatest level of independence possible and experience quality of life not conducive in traditional care environments is often difficult to find.

Acute hospitals, or traditional hospitals, offer a quick resource when the patient has a change in their clinical status, but it’s not the environment most patients want to remain in for prolonged periods. Although for some, it may be reassuring to be close to an experienced medical team, it obviously does not provide the patient with normal activities of daily living in a community, home-based setting.

There are options available within medical facilities that provide an experienced 24/7 medical team in a home-based environment, while delivering quality care. These facilities also have full rehabilitation teams with physical, occupational and speech therapists that expand the patient’s abilities by including the most up-to-date equipment available into their daily routine. While these facilities may not be close to their current home, patients may want to consider being admitted to such a facility for a short stay (sometimes referred to as respite care) or to possibly live there while having their family remain an integral part of their life. Surrounding the patient with caring, experienced nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians and a full rehabilitation team is essential in assisting with the ongoing challenges this disease process brings. It shouldn’t mean the patient has to stop living.

Patients or families can inquire about such a facility with their insurance carrier by calling the number on the back of their insurance card. If the patient has VA insurance, most cases are considered 100% service connected, and therefore fully covered.

Kathleen Modlin

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