The ALS Center at Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center has achieved The ALS Association’s Recognized Treatment Center designation. Jersey Shore University Medical Center is one of only two hospitals in New Jersey that has earned this prestigious designation from the ALS Association.
The ALS Association collaborates with some of the best ALS physicians and clinics across the United States to help ensure that people living with ALS have access to specialized care, based on best practices. The ALS Association’s Recognized Treatment Centers provide compassionate care in a supportive, family-oriented atmosphere.
“We are extremely proud of the high quality, multidisciplinary care that our ALS team offers patients and their family members,” says Mary Sedarous, M.D., a board certified neurologist and medical director of the ALS Center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “To have earned this designation in just two years since starting the ALS Center speaks to the incredible commitment and standard of care practiced by our entire team, which is comprised of experts in the area of neurology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, nursing, dietary, speech language pathology, social work, and mental health.”
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS,) commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a disorder that affects the function of nerves and muscles. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The brain eventually loses the ability to control muscle movement, and voluntary muscle action is progressively affected. Patients in their later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. ALS will eventually lead to disability and death. Currently, there is no cure for this disease.
“Managing the symptoms of ALS is a process that can be challenging for patients, their caregivers, and their medical team,” says Kenneth N. Sable, M.D., MBA, FACEP, president of Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “We have an exceptional program and team of experts who work with patients and their families to help manage symptoms, maintain muscle strength and function, and provide compassionate care and the best quality of life possible.”
“The care that people receive here is a model for other parts of the country and I’m proud that we are able to recognize the ALS Center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center for its outstanding multidisciplinary approach to treating people with this devastating disease,” says Steve Spaulding, director of Care Services for The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter.
Dr. Sedarous acknowledges an important part of the program’s success is due to the support of the Joan Dancy Foundation. “There are many community resources available for support and assistance. The Joan Dancy Foundation provides a social worker as part of our ALS team. While we are the arm that connects patients to physicians and clinical experts, the Joan Dancy Foundation is the arm that connects families with other critical community resources, and we are truly grateful for their support,” says Dr. Sedarous.
Based on U.S. population studies, a little more than 6,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year, which translates to 15 new cases a day. It is estimated there are more than 20,000 Americans who have the disease at any given time. Once ALS starts, it almost always progresses, eventually taking away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow, and breathe and shortening the life span. How fast and in what order this occurs is very different from person to person. While the average survival time is three years, about 20 percent of people with ALS live five years, 10 percent will survive 10 years and five percent will live 20 years or more.
ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH
Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 140 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.
The Network’s notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, the number one hospital in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Health Care” in the nation, and the number one “Best Place to Work for Women.” Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.
The hospitals of Hackensack Meridian Health include: academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood.
For additional information, please visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org.
About The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter
The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter promotes advocacy, direct care, and research for people with ALS. The Chapter contributes to important ALS research initiatives nationally and locally, as well as supports eight, interdisciplinary ALS clinics located in Philadelphia, South Central PA, Northeastern PA, Central/Southern NJ, and Delaware. A comprehensive care services program provides access to in-home and respite care, caregiver support, medical equipment, and specialized transportation. For more information, visit alsphiladelphia.org or call 215-643-5434.