Here are just a few ways our team together with community partners support the ALS Texas community beyond the delivery:
Collaborative Care through Equipment
Conversations regarding equipment typically start in the multidisciplinary ALS clinic. The different therapists—speech, occupational, physical, respiratory, etc.—can work together to give Texans with ALS a clear, collaborative picture of their equipment needs. Texans with ALS often go several months between one clinic visit to the next, but equipment needs constantly change.
In-home visits are critical in keeping up-to-date with these needs. Our team utilizes these visits to identify additional equipment needs and any changes needed to equipment being used. When ALS Texas is unable to make these visits, community partners like RQS fill in the gaps.
“When we’re in the homes, we are the eyes and ears, and we can intervene with all of this stuff,” Fernando Ortiz, Respiratory Therapist at RQS
Though RQS’s focus is respiratory needs, their team members are very attentive to the other needs of Texans with ALS. They relay this information to ALS Texas and the clinic, ensuring equipment needs are met in real time.
Navigating Equipment Needs through Insurance
For those with insurance or other health benefits, knowing when and how to leverage those benefits for equipment becomes confusing. Our team is here as a guide through those processes.
For example, Medicare will only cover one wheelchair purchase every five years. At first instinct, many families would use their insurance to cover the immediate need of the manual wheelchair. Our equipment team educates ALS families about this policy, directing them to utilize the no-cost Equipment Loan Program for their manual wheelchair. That way they can then use their benefits to cover the more expensive power wheelchair down the road.
Even after they are approved for equipment through insurance, Texans with ALS can wait months before receiving their deceives. The Equipment Loan Program fills the gaps with loaners from power wheelchairs to speech devices until their customized equipment arrives.
While every person’s ALS progression presents differently, staying proactive is critical to ensuring equipment needs are met in a timely manner for the maximum benefit. This is especially important when it comes to respiratory care. Keeping the respiratory system strong and healthy is crucial in preventing other illness.
“If we stay one step ahead of it, the outcome is better. We prevent them from catching pneumonia. We prevent them from admitting into the hospital, going into respiratory failure or respiratory distress,” Fernando with RQS shared.
Respiratory care for ALS is unique. With most other diagnoses, breathing devices are used to rebuild strength to a point where the machine is no longer necessary. On the contrary, people living with ALS benefit from using these devices long-term. The team at RQS begins this education at the very beginning when families are originally diagnosed.
This approach to equipment education is beneficial on all fronts—nutrition, breathing, walking, and speaking. “The more education that we can give the Texan with ALS and the family members up front, the more we will keep them out of getting into trouble down the road.” – Fernando RQS
Overcoming Fears and Building Confidence
ALS is an overwhelming disease. The transition from pre-equipment use to equipment use is challenging for both those living with the disease and their caregivers. “There’s an emotional barrier, a mental barrier there, to accepting equipment, and accepting the assistance from equipment,” shared Steve Morse, VP of Mission Delivery at ALS Texas.
Our team and our community partners like RQS are here to support these families as they navigate these fears and questions regarding their changing needs. When Texans with ALS and their caregivers gain the confidence to accept equipment and the knowledge of equipment, their lives change for the better. Caregivers feel equipped to give independent and safe care to their loved ones. Texans with ALS gain their mobility and a sense of normalcy back.
The Equipment Loan Program is truly life-changing for the Texans with ALS and their caregivers. Beyond the delivery of no-cost equipment to their door, our team and community partners like RQS are dedicated to supporting them at every stage of this disease. But we can’t do it without you.
When you support the Equipment Loan Program, you give Texans with ALS their voice back, their mobility back, and their quality of life back. Will you give? RQS has provided a $10,000 donation match for the Equipment Loan Program. Don’t miss the chance to DOUBLE your impact!