Les Unitats Multidisciplinàries d’Atenció a l’ELA dupliquen la supervivència dels pacients

ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a fast-evolving degenerative neurological pathology that causes loss of motor neurons in brain cortex, brain stem and anterior horn of spinal cord. This disease causes progressive physcal handicap, although the patient’s mental functions are often preserved. In Spain almost 900 ALS cases are diagnosed every year, 2 or 3 per day, with an overall number of affected people of around 4,000.

Once the disease is diagnosed, life expectancy is usually from 2 to 5 years. This time lapse is being increased thanks to the ALS Multidisciplinary Attention Units.

Data show that hospitals that offer ALS multidisciplinary treatment double their patients’ survival rate compared to those centres that only have a Neurology Department. “The model of the Functional Unit means that patients are visited by all specialists of the team, in a delimited area of the hospital and in only one journey. Thus, health care gains efficiency and it contributes important benefits for patients, in terms of survival rate and quality of life”, says Dr Monica Povedano, who is responsible for ALS and other motor neuron diseases Functional Unit at Bellvitge University Hospital. This hospital treats, with a multidisciplinary approach, the highest number of ALS patients in Spain.

The ALS Multidisciplinary Attention Unit at Bellvitge University Hospital consists of a team of professionals including a neurologist, a pneumologist, a respiratory physical therapist, a rehabilitation physician, an endocrinologist, a dietitian, a liaison nurse, a speech therapist and an external physical therapist. Besides, the Fundació Miquel Valls collaborates with our Unit through a social worker, a psychologist and an occupational therapist. This way, both the diagnosis and treatment of the different complications are approached in a more effective way, and the patients’ follow-up at all levels (psychosocial, emotional and functional) is continuous.

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