The 2014 ALS Association Clinical Conference

February 17, 2015

The ALS Association supports leading edge clinical care through professional education.  Nearly 400 healthcare professionals attended The ALS Association Clinical Conference in Phoenix this past November.   Healthcare professionals, caring for ALS patients from across the United States and Canada, came together to learn about best practices in clinical care and support for those diagnosed with ALS and their families. 

Meeting the rigorous criteria associated with professional Continuing Education Unit standards for eight different allied health professions, clinical professionals heard from many highly-qualified professionals including Lucie Bruijn, PhD, MBA, and ALS Association Chief Scientist about ALS research, including a focus on the current gaps and opportunities.  Richard Bedlack, MD, PhD, Medical Director of the Duke University ALS Clinic and founder of ALS Untangled shared the processes  physicians and scientists use to investigate the myriad of off-label, alternative, and anecdotal therapies purported to be of value in treating ALS.  Increasing access to care for veterans via telemedicine was discussed by Stephen Selkirk, MD, PhD, and Medical Director of The ALS Certified Treatment Center of Excellenceâ„  at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Expert clinicians associated with multidisciplinary clinics from around the country shared best practice information related to airway clearance and respiratory support, including non-invasive ventilation , tracheostomy  ventilation, and FDA-Humanitarian Use device studies.  Mobility experts discussed advances in seating, while occupational therapists reviewed new technology available for easing the efforts associated with the activities of daily living.  Communications specialists demonstrated innovative consumer electronic devices providing alternative communication applications. Nutrition and safe swallowing diagnostic and treatment protocols were presented by university and Certified Treatment Center of Excellenceâ„  speech and nursing practitioners.

In addition to the assistive technology advances that enhance quality of life to ALS families, speakers addressed issues related to cognitive impairment that is sometimes associated with ALS. “Mindfulness” and other techniques associated with maintaining emotional balance throughout the ALS journey were presented.  Standing room only audiences listened to seasoned social workers sharing positive tips for communicating emotionally charged topics with adults and children.

Take a moment to explore the wide range of topics covered in the 41 platform presentations and nine Poster-Session presentations during The ALS Association’s 2014 Clinical Conference by reviewing the presentation abstracts here.  For additional information related to these topics contact your local chapter, or The ALS Association information line alsinfo@alsa-national.org.

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