Penn Medicine: Respiratory Care for ALS: The North American ALSFAC We Care Online Cource for Clinicians
Until the recent past, virtually everyone with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) lost their breath as the paralyzing disease progressed. Most have died after 2 to 5 years of respiratory failure. However, extraordinary recent advances in respiratory care now enable many people with ALS to breathe comfortably and securely with the assistance of noninvasive (mask) ventilation throughout the course of their disease. Expertly managed noninvasive ventilation also prolongs survival and improves quality of life. Today, noninvasive ventilation remains the only therapy for ALS that has been shown conclusively to improve survival beyond a few weeks.
The medical community has not kept up with the new respiratory care technologies. Many major metropolitan areas and most smaller communities lack pulmonary or sleep medicine specialists with expertise and special interest in the respiratory treatment of neuromuscular diseases. To address that gaping deficiency in ALS clinical care, ALS Finding a Cure is sponsoring the development of the first online master course for clinicians devoted specifically to ALS respiratory care. The course is to be directed by two senior leaders in the field, John Hansen-Flaschen MD at the University of Pennsylvania, and Philip Choi MD at the University of Michigan. Twenty multimedia lectures covering the entire spectrum of ALS respiratory care will be presented by experts drawn from across the United States and Canada. Online access to the course will be free and accessible to members of the public as well as health care professionals across North America and worldwide.