ALS Clinic and Clinical Research Center
The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Clinic at the Phil Smith Neuroscience Institute is located adjacent to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Established in 2017 following the generous donation from Phil and Susan Smith, the Phil Smith ALS Clinic provides multidisciplinary care for patients with ALS in the Fort Lauderdale area and surrounding regions. Affiliated with Holy Cross Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Sean M. Healey Center for ALS, the Phil Smith ALS clinic is collaborative and provides extraordinary continuity of care for our patients.
Our clinical team includes neurologists, nurses, occupational & physical therapists, speech pathologists, dieticians, respiratory therapists, social workers, neuropsychology, palliative care services, and a clinical research team. We work closely with the ALS Association (ALSA) to provide the best resources to our patients, their families and caregivers.
OUR MISSION: ALS impacts many aspects of an individual's health, as well as their family and caregivers. Our ALS clinic utilizes a multidisciplinary team approach to ensure we address any physical, mental and emotional challenges you may be facing. Our goal is to provide expert and timely care throughout your visits with us.
OUR APPROACH: Attending multidisciplinary ALS clinics improves longevity and quality of life for patients with ALS by coordinating and providing specialized care, medications, and equipment. This helps to treat and manage symptoms, slow disease progression and maintain quality of life. The Phil Smith ALS Clinic's relationship with Holy Cross Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Sean M. Healey Center for ALS ensures we provide expert care and easy access to resources for our patients.
Your Team at the Phil Smith ALS Clinic
ABOUT US: The Phil Smith ALS Clinic is directed by Dr. Eduardo Locatelli, MD, MPH and co-directed by Dr. Lauren Tabor, PhD. Our clinic coordinators are Fiona Scarlett, RN and Maricela Pereda, SW.
A DAY IN CLINIC: During your ALS clinic visit, you will see a neurologist, nurse, occupational/physical therapist, speech-language pathologist, dietician, respiratory therapist, and social worker. We also work collaboratively with palliative care services and neuropsychology. We will tell you about our current research studies and opportunities to participate in research. Each specialist will spend time with you to address any questions or needs you may have. Our goal for your ALS clinic visit is to provide expert care, so please come prepared with any questions you have for each specialist. A typical clinic visit lasts 3 hours, so bring anything you may need to be comfortable during that time (i.e., respiratory equipment, snacks, medications).
Eduardo Locatelli, MD, MPH
Dr. Locatelli is an expert in neuromuscular disease with experience in treating patients with ALS. During your visit, he will review common symptoms and concerns, perform a physical examination, and discuss treatment options, medications, equipment, and research opportunities.
CLINIC CARE COORDINATOR/REGISTERED NURSE
Fiona Scarlett, RN
Your visit will start with the clinic care coordinator, who will take your vitals and collect important information regarding any issues you are having with walking, speaking, communication and overall physical function.
PHYSICAL THERAPY/ OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
Juliana Tuberquia, PT; Emily Fandrey, PT & Scott Leikala, ATP
You will be evaluated by a physical therapist at each clinic appointment. They provide important services such as equipment, range of motion, stretching, and massage that may improve mobility, function, and quality of life. Home physical therapy may be ordered for home safety assessments and caregiver training. They may also recommend orthotics or helpful supplies.
SPEECH PATHOLOGY – SWALLOWING
Lauren Tabor, PhD CCC-SLP & Lorrie Troncin, MS, CCC-SLP
As ALS progresses, the muscles that support swallowing become impaired. You will see the speech pathologist who specializes in swallowing disorders at every visit. They will assess your ability to swallow, cough and manage secretions in order to provide recommendations and strategies to swallow safely. A swallowing test under X-Ray (a Modified Barium Swallow study), may be recommended to better evaluate your ability to swallow and determine a safe diet. This test would be scheduled outside of ALS clinic hours and can be performed at Holy Cross Hospital.
SPEECH PATHOLOGY – COMMUNICATION
Lauren Tabor, PhD, CCC-SLP & Lorrie Troncin, MS, CCC-SLP
In addition to identifying swallowing impairment, the speech pathologist will evaluate your ability to communicate effectively and will recommend varying strategies and assistive communication equipment as your condition progresses. The speech pathologist will discuss voice and speech preservation options, such as Voice and Message banking, and strategies to help the clarity of your speech. Additional evaluations can be performed at the Phil Smith Neuroscience institute outside of ALS clinic hours.
Tamara Le Blanc, RT and Millennium Respiratory
You will be evaluated by a respiratory therapist at each clinic appointment. In addition to questions about breathing and sleep, respiratory measurements will be collected. As ALS progresses, the muscles that support coughing and breathing weaken. When it is appropriate, a cough assist machine and non-invasive ventilator may be ordered. These machines have been shown to slow disease progression and improve quality of life. Suction machines can also be ordered for patients with difficulty managing secretions and saliva.
Jean Mendolia, RD
You will be evaluated by a dietician at each clinic to evaluate your nutritional status to prevent malnutrition and avoid weight loss. Patients with ALS have varying caloric and nutritional needs depending on the stage of illness. Maintaining good nutrition and preventing excessive weight loss is critical to your overall well-being. Recommendations may include additional oral supplements, and supplementing oral intake with enteral tube feedings. The dietician will also provide recommendations and education on the use and care of a PEG (feeding) tube.
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES/NEUROPSYCHOLOGY
Allan Ribbler, PhD
Diseases like ALS affect all aspects of a person’s life, as well as the lives of their families. Clinical neuropsychologists address the emotional, cognitive and quality of life issues that arise as people face the challenges of living with ALS. Through formal and informal approaches, by evaluating the emotional, social and cognitive problems that may be present, interventions can be implemented as part of a team effort to maintain maximum quality of life for patients and families.
SOCIAL WORK AND ALS ASSOCIATION (ALSA)
Maricela Pereda, SW
A social worker and a representative from the ALS Association (ALSA) will meet with you at every clinic visit. They will provide you with community resources, including information about grants and funding opportunities, long-term care services, advanced directives and support groups. ALSA Website: HTTPS://WWW.ALSA.ORG
Southeast FL / Miami-Dade
East Central Florida
West Central Florida
Lindita Burbas, Viviana Brito & Franco Salas
The Neuroscience Institute has ongoing clinical research trials and research collaborations with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. Research opportunities will be discussed with you during your clinic visits, as appropriate, with the research team.
PALLIATIVE CARE HOME TEAM
Art Hoff, RN
“Palliative care is the comprehensive treatment of the discomfort, symptoms and stress of a serious illness (National Institute of Nursing, 2009). The goal is to prevent and ease suffering and improve quality of life by managing symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, and problems with sleep (Todd & Folino, 2017). Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of your illness to help you and your family to make challenging medical decisions as well as provide education about end-of-life issues."
Fiona Scarlett, RN: Fiona.Scarlett@holy-cross.com
Maricela Pereda, SW: Maricela.Pereda@holy-cross.com
Lauren Tabor, PhD: Lauren.Tabor@holy-cross.com
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