Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease. Motor neurons are affected in certain patterns, such as cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and bulbar (facial) regions. Although initial presentations can vary, eventually upper and lower motor neurons are lost in the two types of ALS: familial and sporadic. A case study highlighting the reality of living with bulbar ALS relays Sister A's journey from early to late ALS. Etiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, and clinical care are discussed.
Deborah Jeffery, DNP, RN, is Director of Advanced Illness Management, Palliative Services at the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis. She also is Director of Nursing at the Convent of the Immaculate Heart retirement community in St. Louis, Missouri.
Anne F. Fish, PhD, RN, is an associate professor at the College of Nursing at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, Missouri.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Accepted by peer-review 5/21/2017.
*Patient's name has been abbreviated to protect privacy.