The Iowa Chapter offers a full range of services to guide and assist you as you learn more about ALS. Our staff is available Monday through Friday to answer the questions of those living with ALS, caregivers, family members, friends and healthcare workers. All our Chapter services are provided at no cost, so please don't hesitate to call or e-mail us for more information
Krista Strait-Higgins, LISW, ACSW
Director of Care Services
Current Care Services Programs:
Our professional and trained Care Services staff will visit people living with ALS in their homes to offer education, emotional support, assist with identifying equipment and/or home modification options that could increase functional independence, and assist with identifying resources to reduce the financial strain on families. Additionally, our Care Coordinators are available to provide information regarding health insurance coverage and limitations, SSDI, and assist with navigating health care options and resources to insure those living with ALS maintain control of their health care choices.
Monthly support groups are available to anyone impacted by ALS. These groups provide an opportunity to meet others coping with ALS, learn practical information on managing ALS symptoms, and provide support to one another.
Click here for our list of ALS support groups in Iowa
ALS Multidisciplinary Clinics
The ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic model provides high-quality care along with access to the latest treatments for persons living with ALS. An ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic brings together physicians, physical and occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, nutritionists, respiratory therapists, social workers, and nurse case managers to provide comprehensive, specialized care that addresses all of these needs in one place at one time. Research suggests that patients who receive treatment at an ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic live longer and have a higher quality of life.
- ALS Association Recognized Treatment Center: Iowa City VA Medical Center
- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
- Des Moines VA Medical Center
Information and Referrals
Our Care Services Staff welcome calls and emails from anyone impacted by ALS who have questions or unmet needs. We will work to help you identify solutions to the issues you are facing. Our mission is to empower the people and families living with Lou Gehrig’s disease to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support.
Connect face to face with our Care Services staff members from the convenience of your own home. This service is available for a wide range of devices, including computers, tablets/iPads and SmartPhones.
Education and Outreach
Our Care Services Staff provide educational in-services to nursing homes, home health care agencies, hospice groups, and community organizations throughout the state of Iowa. This can be a vital resource to health care providers who may have a limited understanding of the disease process and care needs of those living with ALS. This training can also offer a significant improvement in the quality of care and available resources for the families we serve.
Equipment Loan Program
The ALS Association, Iowa Chapter has a very extensive equipment loan program. We recognize the importance of proper equipment and assistive devices in maintaining the safety, comfort, and maximal functioning of those living with ALS. The goal of the loan program is to help families coping with ALS to always have access to the equipment they need. Often there is a long wait to obtain equipment and assistive devices through insurance funding. The equipment loan program can be used as a bridge to provide needed equipment until the item funded by insurance arrives. Also, there are certain items that are not covered by medical insurance that are beneficial to clients, and the loan program is a place to find these items, free of charge.
Our Care Services Coordinators can receive a specific loan closet request from the ALS specialists or therapists working with you or we will actively listen to your needs and work with our Durable Medical Equipment vendor to determine the most appropriate piece of equipment for your use. Most of the items in our loan closet have been donated to our Chapter. However, if we do not have a piece of requested equipment available and we have funds available, we will purchase necessary items for our Equipment Loan Program.
Official Equipment Loan Program DME Partner:
Communication and Assistive Device Program
Our Chapter facilitates loans of high tech communication devices and the necessary mounting brackets and stands to individuals living with ALS who cannot utilize their insurance benefit to access their own computer based communication system. We loan low technology (no computer) communication systems for individuals disinterested in computer based communication and to supplement communication for those using computer based systems. Additionally, if individuals are needing a smaller assistive device to aid in your daily function or communication needs, e.g. built up silverware, universal cuff, adaptive switch, call system, etc., contact your Care Services Coordinator. If we don’t have the recommended item in our loan closet and our budget allows our Chapter will purchase assistive devices for your use with the understanding that the equipment will be returned so others can benefit from its use.
Care Connections Program
The Care Connection program is simple: it’s a network of volunteers from the community – friends, neighbors, members of community organizations like your church, or other service groups – that provide help for the person with ALS and his or her family, and often give the caregiver a break from their day-to-day responsibilities.
Click here to learn more about starting your own Care Connection Team.
Quality of Life Grant
The Quality of Life Grant offsets the costs associated with medical expenses, home modifications, transportation adaptations, adaptive communication equipment and direct care support. Below is a link to the Quality of Life Grant guidelines, which lists what is/is not eligible for reimbursement under this program.
Funds are awarded to Iowa families impacted by ALS for the amount of $500. In the event that we have more people apply than we have financial resources available, awards will be given on a first come, first serve basis.
Applications will be processed as they are received and ongoing as long as there are funds available. You may email your completed application to email@example.com or mail your completed application to The ALS Association, Iowa Chapter at the address listed below. Questions regarding the program can be directed to Krista Strait-Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-369-2575.
The ALS Association, Iowa Chapter
Attn: Krista Strait-Higgins
3636 Westown Parkway, Ste. 204
West Des Moines, IA 50266
Special Thank You to our 2016 Quality of Life Grant Partners