What is ALS and What is the Philosophy of Care? Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly degenerative disease involving upper motor neuron (UMN) and lower motor neuron (LMN) impairments, for which there is currently no cure. It is necessary for speech-language pathologists to understand the underlying neurological pathophysiology and philosophy of care for individuals with ALS in order to ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2013
What is ALS and What is the Philosophy of Care?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Deanna Britton
    University of Washington—Rehabilitation Medicine, Seattle, WA
  • Stuart Cleary
    University of Alberta—Rehabilitation MedicineEdmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Robert Miller
    University of Washington—Speech & Hearing Sciences, Seattle, WA
  • Disclosure: Deanna Britton, Stuart Cleary, and Robert Miller have no financial or nonfinancial relationships related to the content of this article.
    Disclosure: Deanna Britton, Stuart Cleary, and Robert Miller have no financial or nonfinancial relationships related to the content of this article.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2013
What is ALS and What is the Philosophy of Care?
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2013, Vol. 22, 4-11. doi:10.1044/sasd22.1.4
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2013, Vol. 22, 4-11. doi:10.1044/sasd22.1.4

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly degenerative disease involving upper motor neuron (UMN) and lower motor neuron (LMN) impairments, for which there is currently no cure. It is necessary for speech-language pathologists to understand the underlying neurological pathophysiology and philosophy of care for individuals with ALS in order to facilitate effective assessment and intervention in this population. The authors of this article review the characteristics of ALS, as well as the general philosophy of care for individuals with ALS. The article covers the topics of assessment and intervention within the context of a multidisciplinary ALS clinic; surgical and pharmacological interventions; and monitoring disease progression, including tracking respiratory status. Periodic multidisciplinary assessment aids in appropriate medical and therapeutic interventions, symptom management, and quality of life. Periodic assessment of respiratory function is especially important to aid in timely delivery of appropriate interventions.

Acknowledgments
Thanks to the following individuals for sharing information and expertise: Becky Moore, Executive Director, The ALS Association Evergreen Chapter; Danielle Baird, MSW, Health Services Coordinator, Muscular Dystrophy Association; and Michael Weiss, Director of the MDA ALS Clinic at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA.
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