The need to adapt to changing circumstances is not new to those with ALS. ALS requires constant attention and creativity to stay ahead of physical and emotional changes. As news continues to emerge about precautions against COVID-19, we are all learning how to adapt.
And luckily, we have the strength and resilience of our ALS community who has shown us exactly how to do just that time and time again.
People living with ALS are especially vulnerable to any respiratory infection, including the COVID-19 virus. To keep our families safe, we have made some changes to how our services are delivered. A week ago, we made the decision to pause all in-person services to our families living with ALS.
Ensuring our families living with ALS are fully supported is our number one priority in any circumstance, and not being able to see people in-person does not change that. It’s just allowed us to be more creative.
In order to continue to “visit” people living with ALS, the nurses and social workers on our Support Services team are utilizing telehealth. Telehealth is defined as the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies – like FaceTime and Skype – to help promote long-distance health care.
With technology and good, old-fashioned phone calls, our team is still making sure people living with ALS, and those they love, are supported every step of their way in their journey with the disease.
“Telehealth has grown in popularity the last several years and is mostly used in helping highly at-risk populations and those living in rural areas connect to health care. We have been using telehealth for a few years to conduct visits with some of the families we serve so we are well equipped to move to this model,” said Lauren Webb, LCSW, our Director of Support Services and Education.
“We’re also continuing our model of coordinating care between our in-home visits and patient visits to the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine while our Clinic conducts telehealth visits.”
At the present time, our Lois Insolia ALS Clinic at our Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine advises against in-person visits for the safety of our patients. However, just like our Support Services team, the Clinic staff is harnessing the flexibility of telehealth to continue to provide multidisciplinary care.
Virtual care is being provided through phone consultation, video visits and MyChart encounters. Patients with an upcoming Clinic visit are working with the Clinic team to find the appropriate option for them and their family.
As always, we remain a phone call away and will continue to provide personalized support services and comprehensive care for our Les Turner ALS family during this outbreak. And as this situation continues to evolve, so will we. We are protecting our staff by working remotely, but are available by phone during our office hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm at 847 679 3311.
Since each day brings new updates, we encourage you to regularly visit our COVID-19 page on our Les Turner ALS Foundation website for the most up-to-date information regarding our resources, Lois Insolia ALS Clinic procedures and special events to help us all stay informed and educated. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well.
And finally, we know this is a time where little feels certain. But we are certain, no matter what comes next, we will be here for people living with ALS and their families. We will continue to offer support to our Chicagoland ALS community through these uncertain times. They need us more than ever, and we need your help to keep them connected and able to access services. To make a donation to support our Chicagoland families living with ALS, please do it today. Thank you for providing resources to our ALS community as we get through this together!