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Keywords

ALS functional rating scale, interprofessional team, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, clinic access, Rilutek, riluzole, Veterans Health Administration

 

Authors

  1. Jaffa, Jerri L.
  2. Dufault, Marlene
  3. Lavin, Mary

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive fatal neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord, brain stem, and motor cortex that are responsible for voluntary movement. For unknown reasons, military veterans are approximately twice as likely as the public to be given a diagnosis of ALS. Currently, there is no cure for ALS. The only US Food and Drug Administration-approved disease-modifying medication is riluzole (Rilutek), which may slow ALS progression but only minimally increases survival time. Multidisciplinary care in ALS has been shown to improve survival time and improve quality of life. The purpose of this article is to describe the development of an innovative evidence-based interprofessional healthcare program in a Veterans Administration medical center to address the needs of this vulnerable veteran population.