Motor neuron diseases like ALS are 60% more common in people who have served in the military. Life expectancy after diagnosis is around two to five years. Hospice care for veterans in Indiana can help retired service personnel living with ALS.
Lou Gehrig’s Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a form of motor neuron disease which causes the death of neurons that control muscles. Muscle weakness rapidly ensues until the patient is unable to move. Brain function remains intact, trapping people with ALS inside a body that doesn’t work.
Military Life Puts People at Risk of ALS
For reasons not confirmed, those in the military – even if not deployed – are 60% more likely to develop ALS. Only around 5% of cases are caused by genetics so the medical profession can only speculate on its causes. The Mayo Clinic suggests that exposure to chemicals and metals, coupled with rigorous physical exercise or injury may be the cause.
Hospice Help for Veterans
Military personnel who have been diagnosed with ALS can receive help with hospice care, even if they are not yet at the end stages of life. Help can be funded by Medicaid, or if the person has a prognosis of fewer than six months to live, then it can be funded by the U.S Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). Hospice care for veterans typically provides:
- Assistance with self-care tasks such as bathing and dressing
- Assistance with minor housework to give relatives a break
- In-home medical care such as maintaining a supply of oxygen and giving medications and pain relief
- Transportation to hospital appointments, shops or social occasions
- Compassion – someone to chat to or cry with when needed
- Pastoral support
- Counseling for the affected individual and his family
- Inpatient hospice care if wanted.
Hospice care attends to the routine and practical matters, allowing family members more time to spend with their loved one in their final months. Good hospice care keeps the patient free from pain, giving them the opportunity to do the things they’d like to do while preparing them for their passing.