The Center for Restorative Neurology at Loma Linda University Health has received a $125,000 grant from the ALS Association for its designation as a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence. The center was first designated in 2017 as one of 63 ALS Association Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence in the United States.
The center received for the first time this year’s annual grant as part of the designation from both the national ALS Association and its Golden West Chapter. Administrators said the grant funding and designation have positively impacted the center’s ability to be a primary referral source for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
A motor neuron disease like ALS affects most functions within the body, because of this, ALS patients need a wide variety of treatments, which can come at burdensome financial cost. With treatment costs being the forefront obstacle for ALS patients, the center will use funds from the grant to cover patient visits and provide equipment and new therapy treatments.
“Our philosophy at the center is to remove any of the barriers that result in a mindset that this is a one-way incurable disorder. That’s where a grant like this becomes so impactful,” said medical director Jeffrey Rosenfeld, MD, PhD. “This additional funding goes to removing those obstacles, giving the patient a renewed sense of hope, and that is a very powerful treatment.”
In addition to the grant, the designation also provides a full time ALS service coordinator, who visits patients in their home and is present at the center both on clinic and non-clinic days.
“This continuity of care is a crucial tool in seeing how things are going for the patient outside of the clinic and to address problems quickly as they arise,” Rosenfeld says.
Earning the designation as a Center of Excellence is no easy feat. A center must provide state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary ALS care, meet rigorous clinical care standards and pass a comprehensive site inspection. These centers typically employ a neurologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, respiratory therapist, nurse, dietitian, speech language pathologist, social worker, mental health professional and an ALS Association Chapter liaison for patients to meet with in one central place.
The Center for Restorative Neurology adheres to this model bringing together complete diagnostics, treatments and support services for neuromuscular conditions. The center also provides beyond the patient’s direct medical treatment including therapy, continuing Loma Linda University Health’s mission to whole person care.
“When looking at a disorder that seems to be defined by the progressive physical disabilities, we have to keep in mind the whole person — not just their physical health, but their emotional and that of those around them,” Rosenfeld says. “Sometimes we treat the family or caregiver, and it can be hugely beneficial to the health of the patient in doing so.”
The Center for Restorative Neurology is located inside the Neurology Clinics of the Faculty Medical Group at 11370 Anderson Street, Suite B-100, in Loma Linda. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please call 909-558-5978.