ALS & Mobility
How ALS affects mobility
We created this guide to help you navigate changes that may occur due to ALS. In this guide you will find information on durable medical equipment (DME).
This equipment will allow you to get around your home and out in the community. This guide is just a general place to start. If you have any questions, please contact your ALS care team.
Aids for walking
A straight cane helps provide balance and stability. Using a cane might also prevent people from bumping into you.
A Rollator walker has 4 wheels, hand brakes, and a seat. It is a good choice for a person with leg weakness and/or poor endurance. This also allows a person to sit and rest when needed.
A front-wheel walker is lightweight and folds up. These walkers can be easily picked up and carried. Back gliders or tennis balls can be added for easier mobility. Platforms can be added for arm support if you have hand weakness.
Standard folding walkers have no wheels. The walkers can be adapted with either 5” non-swivel wheels or 3” swivel wheels. You can also add back gliders to make pushing a folding walker easier.
What are the symptoms of mobility weakness?
There are many things to consider in making a selection for a walker.
These include overall stability, width, and height. Also consider the type of hand brake system if brakes are required. You can also attach baskets and other accessories to your walker.
What to think about before getting a wheelchair
Insurance coverage for wheelchairs
Check your health insurance policy to find out if durable medical equipment (DME) is covered. You can also work with a local DME provider recommended by your ALS care team.
A power wheelchair, needed for independence and weight-shifting, is usually priced at $25,000 or more.
Most insurance policies will cover only one wheelchair every 5 years. It is recommended to use insurance for a power/electric wheelchair.
Financial assistance or equipment loans may be available through Team Gleason, the Les Turner ALS Foundation or the ALS Association.
Pressure relief cushions are important in preventing pressure sores if you cannot shift your weight. Pressure relief means moving your body when sitting or lying down to allow your blood to move throughout your body.
Talk to your ALS care team to learn more about pressure relief.
Independent weight-shifting is important to decrease the risk of pressure sores. Various features are available for these chairs. The chair should be custom-fitted and requires a prescription from your physician.
Aids for transfers
Types of patient lifts and seat-lift recliner chairs
If you would like more information on lifts that require installation visit our home modification guide.
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Theses resources are made possible by a generous donation from the Gilbert & Jacqueline Fern Foundation and other donors to the Foundation.
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