Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is an illness that results in the death of nerve cells in portions of the spinal cord and brain. This progressive disease negatively affects the action of the body’s muscles. People who are suffering from the late stages of the illness can become completely paralyzed.
Symptoms and Treatment of ALS
A specialized form of medical care known as palliative care is frequently employed to help people struggling with severe diseases. It focuses on enhancing comfort and quality of life for patients and their loved ones. People of any age or stage of their disease may receive palliative care, and it may also be combined with curative medical treatments or procedures.
One of the biggest concerns for patients suffering from ALS is the prospect of losing control of their bodies. Most people with the disease fear how this loss of function will force them to depend on assistance from others for even the simplest of activities, like eating, bathing or getting dressed. Furthermore, since ALS impacts the muscles that are involved in swallowing, breathing and talking, emotional pain and physical discomfort can often result from the illness. In many cases, ALS sufferers become increasingly anxious about being restricted to a wheelchair when their disease enters its later stages
The Benefits of Palliative Care
A team of palliative care specialists will work closely with you and your doctors to help control the symptoms of the disease and monitor the coordination of your treatment. These professionals possess expertise in helping people with ALS and other serious ailments to better manage their symptoms and the stress associated with the disease. They are also experts at navigating the complex and often overwhelming healthcare system.
As you fight against an illness that interferes with your ability to have control over your life and body, your team of palliative care specialists will offer you an additional means of much-needed support. They will ensure that anything that can be kept under control will be kept under control.
The Palliative Care Team
Your team of palliative care specialists are able to assist you with this and many other things. They will serve as your sounding board and help you to stave off symptoms like discomfort, depression, anxiety and pain.
They will assist you and your family members in making any decisions, no matter how large, small, easy or difficult. They’ll also improve communication and understanding between you, your loved ones and your physicians and aid you in making your care goals clear. In addition, your palliative care team will walk you through the process of planning for advanced care, including your choices regarding artificial hydration and feeding and mechanical ventilation.
Research has shown that when people with ALS are under palliative care, they may have a higher survival rate than those patients who are only receiving general neurological care. At any stage of the disease, palliative care can help you and your family to experience the best quality of life possible.
Obtaining Palliative Care
If you or some you love requires palliative care, your doctor can provide you with a referral. To discover whether palliative care may be right for you or your loved one, feel free to contact Harbor Light Hospice directly.