In 1986, the Foundation opened one of the country’s first multi-disciplinary ALS patient care centers, the Lois Insolia ALS Clinic. Today, it is an integral part of the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine and serves as a model for ALS clinics worldwide.
In 2017, after working at the Clinic for over a decade, Dr. Senda Ajroud-Driss was named as the Clinic’s Director. In this role, Dr. Ajroud-Driss leads a staff of neurologists, pulmonologists, dieticians, occupational therapists, physician assistants, clinical trial coordinators and more to provide a full spectrum of care to people living with ALS in a unique, one-stop-shop setting.
“When you have a disability, it’s hard to go from place to place and find all these professionals to help care for you. We have them all under one roof. In one visit we accomplish a lot and take care of the patient in a more comprehensive way.”
Driven by its desire to help people living with ALS and their families cope with the disease, the team of allied professionals working at the Clinic provides invaluable support.
“When a patient comes to us, we don’t think about the things we can’t do for them. We think about what we can do. How can we help? How can we take away those cramps? How can we help this person be more independent? We truly believe we can make their lives better. A person living with ALS can come to us and feel confident that we know how to help them and know exactly what they need to do.”
Another unique aspect of the Clinic is its close relationship with the Patient and Family Advocates at the Les Turner ALS Foundation.
“The Foundation’s Patient and Family Advocates visit patients in their homes and then get back to us with comprehensive notes. They help to make sure patients are safe, that they understand what the disease is – they’re really an extension of the Clinic. I don’t see how I would be doing my job without that. It’s invaluable. “
In January, the Clinic moved in to a new, modern space at Northwestern Medicine to better accommodate its visitors.
“In the old space, there weren’t enough rooms for the number of patients we were caring for. So there was a delay to see the patient which made clinic visits much longer. In this new Clinic space we have many more rooms so we can make clinic visits more efficient.”
In Dr. Ajroud-Driss’ time at the Clinic she estimates she’s cared for over 500 people living with ALS and every single one has inspired her.
“There’s no cure for this disease, but there’s a lot we can do to help a patient get through it with the best quality of life they can have. We help navigate every step of the way. While we don’t yet have a cure, we make life easier every single day.” Learn more about the Lois Insolia ALS Clinic>>