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ALS Training & Comforcare Caregivers

At Comforcare we take pride in our training so that we may be able to best care for and offer support and assistance for clients with ALS (often known as Lou Gehrig's disease). Our ALS training module includes:

ALS Training Module for Comforcare Home Care

Home Health Aides & CNA’s

What is ALS – ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a progressive type of motor neuron disease. Motor neurons control muscles. ALS patients lose their ability to move as the neurons die. Patients will lose strength all over their bodies and eventually lose their ability to function. ALS does not affect the mind. Patients will be able to think and remember, move their eye muscles and control bladder and bowel functions. They will eventually lose the ability to walk, use their arms and legs, and to eat, speak and breathe. There is no known cure. ALS is not contagious. You cannot catch ALS from another person.

Common Symptoms of ALS – Every ALS patient is different. Symptoms that are common are:

· Muscle weakness, cramping, twitching

· Slow and uncoordinated movements, difficulty walking and holding objects

· Slow or slurred speech

· Difficulty swallowing

· Falling or tripping

· Drooling

· Muscle contractures

· Fatigue

· Shortness of breath

Caring for an ALS client- Understanding ALS and knowing what to expect can help caregivers meet the needs of each individual living with the disease. The following tips are helpful:

· Help the client to relax if they appear anxious

· Help the client with stretching exercises if they complain of muscle cramps or spasms

· Elevate arms or legs if you notice swelling in the hands and feet

· Always avoid strong odors, perfumes, lotions and smells as clients have difficulty breathing

· Be patient with speech problems, encourage client to speak slowly for good communication

· Understand that constipation is common so encourage client to stay hydrated and drink liquids

· Offer to massage sore or cramping muscles if the client/family/doctor approve

· Find ways to avoid stress in the household

· Make the home safe by removing throw rugs, furniture or other objects that can be dangerous to the client

· While performing personal care such as bathing, NEVER make the water hot

· Gently towel dry the client, do not rub hard

· Try to establish a regular bowel routine and respond quickly if a client has the urge to use the bathroom

· Keeping a daily record of bowel routine is important to avoid impaction

· Help your client maintain as much independence as possible

· Itchy scalp is common with ALS clients so shampoo hair in lukewarm water, never hot

· Towel dry gently, do not rub scalp hard with the towel

· Remember that neck muscles will be very weak

· Make sure the bed pillow Isn’t too thick because that can cause neck strain; try placing a rolled towel under the back of the neck with a thin pillow for the head

· Make sure to correctly position and support the client in comfortable positions using different size pillows and rolled towels *for side-lying put a pillow between the client’s knees to keep hips in alignment *for back-lying put a pillow under the knees and elevate the arms slightly with pillows

· Do daily skin checks and immediately report any skin tears or pressure sores

· Protect client’s shoulders while transferring and positioning and do not pull on their arms to move them

· Avoid using deodorant soaps for bathing and use scent-free body lotions

COMFORCARE supports the mission and philosophy of the ALS Association and the ALS Association Florida Chapter

*The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information and resources call 800-782-4747*


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