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Home > How we’re continuing to serve people with ALS and their families while preventing the spread of coronavirus

How we’re continuing to serve people with ALS and their families while preventing the spread of coronavirus

by | Mar 13, 2020

Updated November 18, 2020

We understand that many of you in our ALS community may have questions and concerns related to the spread of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19. We are closely monitoring national government health agency guidance and consulting with our local and state health agencies on dealing with the coronavirus.

With the developing news regarding COVID-19, we wanted to take a moment to share how The ALS Association of Texas is addressing the concern about our programs and events. Our first priority is the safety and well-being of people with ALS, their families and caregivers, and our staff.

  • We will temporarily cease any in-person interactions and instead work with our community virtually to safeguard our ALS community. We will assess this timeline as the situation progresses to determine if it should be extended.
  • Utilizing video conferencing, we will continue to serve the ALS community through consultations, meetings, and support groups.
  • We are closely monitoring the situation and are committed to following the recommendations of local, state and federal authorities.
  • We are evaluating each of our programs and events on a case-by-case basis and will notify you directly of any changes.
  • We will provide further details as-needed.

For the most recent information about the coronavirus (COVID-19), The ALS Association recommends that you reference the websites for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and state and local health authorities.

For specific information about symptoms you may be experiencing or questions about personal exposure as someone living with ALS or as a caregiver, please contact your physician directly. If you have questions about an upcoming clinic appointment, please contact your physician’s office directly.

Thank you for your patience as we manage this rapidly shifting situation.

Virtual Connection Groups & Workshops

We are still connecting! It just looks a little different. We have set up virtual Connection Groups, Caregiver Groups, Workshops and more. Take a look at our upcoming virtual events and join us!

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Please contact your local Care Services Manager for further information.

ALS Multidisciplinary Clinics

Our ALS clinics across the state are determining their operations on a case-by-case basis. Below are changes that we know are impacting future clinic dates. Please contact your clinic if you have any questions.

Austin/Temple VA clinics
• Not expecting to host clinic again until a vaccine is available.

Baylor in Houston
• Resumed regular clinic operations in October.

Central Texas Neurology
• Resumed regular clinic operations in June.

DHR in Valley
• Seeing some patients in-person and others through virtual visits.

Emory Bellard in RR
• Resumed regular clinic operations in August.

Houston Methodist
• Started seeing patients in the clinic in June; it is a modified clinic with a limited number of patients and limited clinic team members.
• Offering telehealth visits to the more severe patients.

UT Health San Antonio
• Seeing some patients in-person and others through virtual visits.

South Texas VA in San Antonio
• Seeing only new patients in-person and seeing follow-up patients through virtual visits.

Texas Neurology
• Resumed regular clinic operations in August at new location, 6080 North Central Expressway, Suite 100, Dallas TX

Texas Tech in El Paso
• Dr. Kassar is seeing some patients in-person and others through virtual visits; the team is not currently seeing patients.

Equipment Loans

We utilize community partners to help deliver and pick-up our loaner medical equipment. Specifically, we work with Travis Medical, National Seating & Mobility, Numotion, and ImproveAbility in different parts of the state.

We have resumed normal operations of our DME program as of June 16 with some limitations:

  • We may be limited as to the specific items we are able to accept as donations due to budget constraints and storage capacity.
  • We may be limited in the number of deliveries and pick-ups we do each month, so delays in the delivery and/or pick-up of equipment may be possible.

NOTE: The items needed most are electric patient lifts, newer power wheelchairs, and tilt-n-space rolling shower chairs.

If you have any equipment needs, concerns, or questions, please contact your local Care Services Manager and they will assist you.

Respiratory Quality Services (RQS)

RQS manages the in-home respiratory care of many of our patients across Texas. RQS is seeing patients on an as-needed basis due to the recent increase in cases of Covid. If a visit is necessary, RQS will continue to take necessary safety precautions including being symptom-free for the previous two weeks before entering the home. They have measures in place to ensure the safety of patients, caregivers, and respiratory therapists.

RQS has put together Cleaning Guidelines for respiratory equipment that we wanted to share with you. You can download the Respiratory Care Supply Hygiene PDF here.

Avoid Coronavirus Scams

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received reports of scam and hoax text message campaigns and scam robocalls offering free home testing kits, promoting bogus cures, selling health insurance, and preying on virus-related fears. Do NOT click on links in texts related to the virus, and check for the most current information.

Helpful Resources and Information

Questions and Additional Support

If you have any questions or additional needs, please contact your local Care Services Manager.

How ALS Patients Can Help

Once you’ve been diagnosed with ALS, it’s easy to feel like you just don’t have many options, but there are ways you can make a difference.

How You Can Help People With ALS

We all have a part to play in the fight against ALS! Your generous support funds critical research for better treatments and a cure for this disease. Here are a few ways you can help: