Our goal at the UC Neuromuscular Center is to treat what can be improved, enhance symptom control and increase mobility and function. Our collaborative team includes neurologists, pulmonologists, otolaryngologists, neurosurgeons, nurse clinicians, neuroscience nurses, physical and occupational therapists and social workers. We incorporate physical therapy occupational therapy, speech and swallowing therapy and pulmonology to maximize our patients’ quality of life. When appropriate and beneficial, we call on surgeons to help treat specific neuromuscular conditions. We also are trained in the therapeutic use of immunosuppressants.
Advanced subspecialty training enables our physicians to perform electromyograms (EMG), the diagnostic test of choice for delineating neuromuscular disorders. We operate three neurophysiology laboratories for this purpose at UC Health Physicians Office Clifton, Hoxworth Neurology Clinic and UC Health Physicians Office West Chester.
UC Health ALS Clinic
A diagnosis of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, marks the beginning of one of the most heart-breaking journeys in neurological disease. The path is uniquely difficult for each patient, and the ultimate destination remains, today, unchallengeable. Specialists at the UC Neuromuscular Center work to maximize quality of life for patients and their families and create a foundation for future research through the comprehensive ALS Clinic.
The UC Health ALS Clinic takes place one day each month at the Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care. A patient with ALS typically attends the clinic once every three months for a period of two to three hours. The goal is to care for all of the patient’s physical, emotional and logistical needs in a single office visit. During a visit, patients and families will meet with the following staff:
A respiratory therapist performs pulmonary function tests to gauge where the patient is in the course of the disease.
An occupational therapist works with patients on functional tasks that most of us take for granted — activities of daily living such as shaving, dressing, and using the phone or keyboard. The therapist also can administer driving tests and assess a patient’s capabilities in a workshop kitchen.
A physical therapist focuses on patients’ gross motor strength, their walking and their balance. The physical therapist can provide braces, walkers, wheelchairs and other medical equipment to help them maintain their independence.
A speech therapist assists patients with issues related to speech, eating, nutrition and swallowing. When patients reach an advanced stage of disease, the muscles necessary to formulate sounds and to swallow are no longer strong enough to do so. At this point patients are sometimes provided with communication devices.
A social worker assists patients and families with social issues, including home health care, preparing a power of attorney, and inevitable end-of-life decisions. The social worker also oversees a “loan closet,” stocked with costly, lightly used equipment that families have given back after their loved one has passed away. The equipment, which includes motorized wheelchairs, is a blessing for patients who are underinsured or not yet on Medicare.
The UC Health ALS Clinic was created with generous support from the Barbara V. Peck and Justin Friedman Fund for research in ALS and UC’s Muscular Dystrophy Association grant.
Adult MDA Clinic
The UC Neuromuscular Center serves as the Southern Ohio Adult MDA Clinic, providing health care services for people with more than forty-two neuromuscular disorders from Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Eastern Indiana. Through a grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), the MDA Adult Clinic helps defray the cost of selected services that may not be covered by insurance or for patients without insurance. Patients must be registered with the MDA to qualify. Services include:
- New patient visits and follow-up visits
- EKG testing
- Some specialized lab tests
- Flu shots
The Adult MDA Clinic is available at two locations University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Clifton and West Chester Hospital in West Chester, Ohio. To schedule an appointment at either location, call (513) 475-8730.