Multiple major studies show that military Veterans are at greater risk of developing Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). To serve these Veterans throughout its health care region, Indianapolis recently opened a new ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic.
Regardless of the branch of service, regardless of the era in which served, and regardless of whether the service was during a time of peace or war, Veterans are at greater risk of dying from ALS than if they had not served in the military.
In response, the VA announced ALS as a presumptive condition for service connection, meaning it is automatically assumed that when a Veteran is diagnosed with ALS that it is related to their military service. Although the cause of ALS remains unknown, both the cause of ALS and the relationship to military service, continue to be explored through research
The Indianapolis VA Medical Center ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic is the VISN 11 ALS Care Site, where Veterans get their care from specialized ALS staff who focus on the unique and complex needs of the ALS patient. The ALS Team includes the expert care of a Neurologist, Pulmonologist, Respiratory Therapist, Speech Pathologist, Registered Dietician, Physical and Occupational Therapies, Wheelchair and Seating Specialist, Social Work, and the collaboration of other specialty services as needed.
ALS is a rapidly progressive, totally debilitating, and irreversible motor neuron disease that results in muscle weakness leading to a wide range of serious disabilities, including impaired mobility. The VA offers Veterans diagnosed with ALS many timely benefits, including adaptive equipment, home modifications, an automobile allowance, in-home services, caregiver support and survivor benefits. The VA announced last month that ALS patients are now presumed medically eligible for grants up to almost $68,000 to adapt their homes. Grants are also available to help eligible individuals purchase adapted homes or pay down mortgages on homes that are already adapted.
For more information, please contact Leah Darling, ALS Social Worker, at 317-988-9540 or Leah.Darling@va.gov.