Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (ALSA) St. Louis Regional Chapter Receives $23,395 Grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (ALSA) St. Louis Regional Chapter recently received a grant for $23,395 from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to support the Loan Closet Plus program.

ALSA will identify persons with ALS in need of the new equipment through established channels of referral and evaluation. If there is no insurance coverage or the device is not insurance eligible, the person with ALS is able to access this equipment through the Loan Closet Plus program free of charge. ALSA returns the equipment to the loan closet when no longer needed in order to make it available for another individual’s use.

For those diagnosed with ALS, the brain does not lose its function after the ability to move and/or speak is lost. Individuals living with ALS are able, if given the tools, to be fully engaged with the world around them. The requested equipment increases an individual’s ability to perform activities of daily living, such as easing transitions and participating in mealtime. Devices that assist with eating are particularly critical, helping individuals participate in the important social aspect of sharing a meal with friends and loved ones. The Loan Closet Plus program fills an important gap in equipment needs that are usually not covered by insurance.

The primary goals of ALSA’s Loan Closet Plus program are to assist persons with ALS to gain/maintain independent living/essential life skills, to support people with ALS to experience an improved quality of life, and to assure the highest quality of life possible for as long as possible for those affected by ALS, including persons with ALS and caregivers by providing them with necessary equipment. Through the program, people with ALS will be able to live independently in their homes longer, reducing the emotional and financial stress for themselves and their caregivers, while managing a fatal disease.

ALSA works with five multidisciplinary clinics to provide comprehensive care by offering 10+ disciplines in one setting. Clinics include Washington University’s School of Medicine Neuromuscular Clinic; Saint Louis University’s ALS Certified Clinic; John Cochran Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Southern Illinois University School of Medicine at Springfield; and Saint Francis Medical Center’s ALS Clinic in Cape Girardeau. The National ALS Association continues to recognize the St. Louis Regional Chapter as “Chapter of the Year,” and for outstanding implementation of the Walk to Defeat ALS, the National ALS Association’s signature event.

ALSA annually serves 350-400 people with ALS and over 350 family members of ALS patients. ALSA programs include: 1) case management and the development and monitoring of care plans, 2) home visits and group volunteer assistance, 3) educational and grief counseling, 4) skilled and unskilled respite care, 5) nutritional supplements, 6) home modification 7) assistive communication devices, and 8) an equipment loan closet. The heart of ALSA’s work lies in one-on-one interaction between care service coordinators (CSCs), medical professionals, patients, and their families. CSCs conduct assessments and provide case management, determining needs as the disease progresses.