Management strategies that impact disease progression
Survival time may be influenced by a number of factors, including:
Malnutrition affects up to 50% of patients with ALS, as the muscles involved in chewing and swallowing become insufficient.
If patients can still safely chew and swallow, encourage the consumption of high calorie and high protein foods. If food intake is considered unsafe, consider a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube.2,3
Respiratory failure is the leading cause of death in ALS, so it's important to intervene early. Noninvasive ventilation (NIV) earlier in disease course has been shown to extend survival times.
If respiratory function declines significantly, tracheostomy or permanent assisted ventilation is often required.1,3
The benefits of multidisciplinary ALS care
Refer your patients to multidisciplinary centres, also known as ALS clinics, to enhance their quality of care. Studies suggest that ALS clinics help prolong patient survival times versus general neurology clinics.1
Patients who attended an ALS clinic experienced a:
- 47.3% decreased risk of death
- 7.5 month increase in average survival time4
Multidisciplinary ALS Clinics have great resources and expertise to facilitate management and provide optimized care for people living with ALS.
The team comprises of specialists from different disciplines including:
- Nurse coordinators
- Occupational therapists
- Social workers
- Speech-language pathologists
- Research coordinators1