Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - Topic Overview
What decisions will you face as ALS progresses?
you or a family member has ALS, learn as much as you can about the disease and
how to take care of it. How much treatment you want for the problems caused by
ALS is a personal choice that only you and your loved ones can make. Your
values, wants, and needs are important things to think about as you make
choices about your care.
As ALS symptoms get worse, you may have
to choose which treatments you want for issues like breathing and eating problems. For example, would you consider using a machine to help you breathe if your breathing problems become severe? Do you want a feeding tube placed in your stomach if you are losing weight, unable to get enough calories by eating, or if you lose your ability to swallow?
As you make these choices, keep in mind that what's right for one
person with ALS may not feel right for another. It's also okay to revisit your choices throughout the course of the disease. You may change your mind over time. Be sure to talk
about your treatment options and share your concerns with your doctor.
You may want to put your health care choices in writing. This is called
advance directive or a
living will. It gives you control over your own
medical care when you can't make decisions or speak for yourself. You may also
want to choose a friend or family member to speak for you. This is called a
durable power of attorney. Making these plans ahead of
time will help make sure that your health care choices are followed.