First ALS Clinic In Baton Rouge Opens Doors

Thanks to a local physician’s group in Baton Rouge, patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) no longer face lengthy drives to receive treatment. The clinic serving the Baton Rouge area opened on Friday with its first trio of patients. Keep reading to learn more about this development, or follow the original story here.

Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group (OLOL) opened the first ALS clinic in the Baton Rouge area last week. Previously, patients took long drives just to receive the basic treatment necessary to live with their condition. This could be especially trying and taxing if a patient needed to make multiple appointment s with multiple specialists.

Besides location, the OLOL Clinic will also be unique in allowing patients to schedule appointments with a team of specialists.

Handling these multiple meetings as a group, all at once, provides another layer of immediate service that patients will benefit from. The clinic includes specialists in areas such as neurology, physical, occupational, respiratory, and speech therapy, pulmonology, and nutrition. The clinic also boasts supportive care which will help meet the needs of patients and their families.

Baton Rouge resident Annie Chatellier refers to it as “one stop shopping.” “It means everything to have one right here in Baton Rouge,” she says.

Chatellier is also a team member with Our Lady of the Lake and was diagnosed with ALS in 2015. She describes the new clinic as combining the best practices and principles from others across the entire country.

Chatellier also has experience with the old system. Until the new clinic opened, she faced trips to Houston for treatment. That comes out to a five hour drive, an entire day spent in clinic, then fives hours to get back home.

Cutting down on the travel time, and the difficulties involved specifically for ALS patients while traveling, will be a real life changer for patients in the area.

The clinic comes after a year and a half of effort on the part of OLOL. They made sure to spend their time gathering the best physicians for the job, along with the right equipment. Patient care took first priority.

OLOL’s medical director for the clinic, Dr. Stephen Brierre, views the clinic as an opportunity to not only affect Baton Rouge, but the surrounding area as well. Just as doctor’s at the clinic aim to treat the whole patient and not one particular symptom, he views their impact as larger than any one region.

“When you have multiple doctors in one clinic who are all centered on one disease and treating the whole patient I think it’s a big step forward for us. It allows us to be a catchment area for not only Baton Rouge, but all of the surrounding area,” Dr. Brierre says.

The clinic is structured such that patients attend every second Friday of each month. Patient care is built around group interactions both with other patients, and caregivers. Dr. Brierre describes it as an opportunity to create an “energetic and nurturing atmosphere.”

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