Promoting Excellence : ALS Executive Summary : Psychosocial Care

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Current clinical practice focuses predominantly on the patient's medical needs. However, emerging evidence suggests that psychosocial factors significantly influence decisions regarding health care choices, palliative care and attitudes about living and dying with ALS. The analysis of gaps in this area of care indicates that there is a lack of focus, and in some cases, a lack of awareness regarding the importance of addressing psychosocial concerns in patients with ALS. Many physicians feel uncomfortable in approaching patients to offer psychosocial support, and others do not know what type of psychosocial care is needed.


Practice Recommendations

  • Increase awareness of importance for psychosocial care in patients with ALS and their caregivers.
  • Implement an interdisciplinary team approach to care in ALS that regularly includes a psychosocial evaluation.

Research and Program Development Recommendations

  • Develop specific training materials to facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to care.
  • Develop specific training materials to facilitate the goal of increased awareness for psychosocial care (such as vignettes, curricula, care plans or guidelines).
  • Develop curricula on psychosocial care (including cross-cultural interreligious issues).

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Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation dedicated to long-term changes in health care institutions to substantially improve care for dying people and their families. Visit PromotingExcellence.org for more resources.

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