By Courtney Bethel | Posted - Aug 24th, 2020

 

 

 

 

Just Diagnosed With ALS? What Equipment is Helpful?

If you have just been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, this equipment may be helpful for maintaining the best quality of life: 

"Your ALS guide" lists the following as useful equipment: 

Beds: 

 

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Standard hospital bed
a special bed with side rails that can be raised or lowered by crank or motor in three separate, jointed sections, which allows you to lie in various positions

Note: Standard hospital beds must be prescribed in person by a doctor and supplied by a Medicare-certified medical equipment provider. For the first 13 months, you will be renting your hospital bed. After that, you will own it.

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Alternating pressure pad and pump
a device placed between the mattress and sheet that provides alternating pressure to help prevent and treat pressure sores

Note: Insurance will cover this if your doctor writes a prescription and letter stating that it is medically necessary.

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Over-bed table
​often referred to as a “hospital table,” the base rolls underneath the bed so the table can be placed conveniently in front of you

Not covered by insurance

 

Transfer Devices: 

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Manual patient lift (hoyer lift)
a hydraulic, hand-pumped device that lifts you in a chair-like sling for transferring between wheelchair, bed, toilet, etc.

Covered by insurance

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Divided (split-leg) sling
a nylon or mesh hanging chair that attaches to manual and power lifts to support you

Covered by insurance

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Gait (transfer) belt
a belt that assists with transferring you between wheelchairs, beds, sofas, toilets, cars, etc.

Not covered by insurance

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Pivot (or transfer) disc
a disc that helps you slowly rotate in a new direction while standing in place; often used for getting in and out of a wheelchair from a bed, chair, car, etc.

Not covered by insurance

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​Bed rail (bed cane)
a rail that slips between the mattress and box spring to assist you getting in and out of bed; it can also help you from rolling off the bed

Not covered by insurance

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​​Transfer board
a board that helps bridge the gap between a wheelchair and a bed, toilet, car, etc.

Not covered by insurance

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​​Power patient lift (hoyer lift)
a battery-powered, remote-controlled device that lifts you in a chair-like sling for transferring between wheelchair, bed, toilet, etc.

Not covered by insurance

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Transfer pole
a security pole running from floor to ceiling that can help you stand up from your bed, couch or toilet independently

Not covered by insurance

 

ADL equipment or "Activities of Daily Life" equipment:

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Lift chair recliner
​a remote-controlled recliner chair that helps you move between reclining, sitting, and lifted positions

Note: ​Lift chair recliners typically cost between $300 and $500. If you have a medical prescription for a lift chair recliner, Medicare will reimburse roughly $300, which covers the motor mechanism within the chair. Many people choose not to go through the reimbursement process and either buy them outright or borrow them.

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Button hook / zipper pull
​a simple device that assists with buttoning and zippering clothes

​Not covered by insurance

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Built-up utensils
soft foam utensils that are easy to grip with limited hand involvement

​Not covered by insurance

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Rocker knife
a knife with a rounded blade attached to a large, easy-grip handle that allows you to cut food with one hand

​Not covered by insurance

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Scoop plate / plate guard
devices that help keep food from falling off your plate; the rubber on the bottom prevents the plate from sliding around on the table

​Not covered by insurance

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Reacher
​a pole-like device that grabs items on the floor or otherwise out of reach

​Not covered by insurance

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Universal cuff
​an adaptive device worn on your hand to hold items such as utensils, razors, and writing tools

​Not covered by insurance

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Long-handled shoehorn
a longer-than-normal shoehorn that can help slide your heel into your shoe without retying laces or bending as much

​Not covered by insurance

 

Braces: 

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Neck brace
a brace that can help support your neck and head if your muscles are weakened

Covered by insurance

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Hand or wrist brace or splint
​a brace or splint that gives extra support to your hand or wrist if your muscles are weakened

Covered by insurance

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Ankle foot brace
​also called an ankle foot orthosis (AFO), it helps you walk with more stability, spend less energy, and be less likely to trip

Covered​ by insurance

 

To learn more on ALS, please visit alscrowd.org 

 
Courtney Bethel
About the Author

Courtney Bethel - Courtney is an ALS patient and caregiver supporter and writer for ALS Crowd.

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