Needs of persons living with ALS at home and their family caregivers: A scoping review

Heather M. Young, Tina R. Kilaberia, Robin Whitney, Benjamin M. Link, Janice F. Bell, Orly Tonkikh, Jessica Famula, Björn Oskarsson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction/Aims: Most persons with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) live at home with support of family caregivers, with escalating complexity of care over the trajectory of the disease requiring resources and support to mitigate negative physical, social, and emotional outcomes. Methods: This scoping review identifies the home health/home care needs of persons with ALS and their caregivers as a basis for creating a home health medical standard. We used the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) to examine studies describing home care needs published between 2011 and 2021. Results: Our search yielded 481 articles, of which 44 were included with a total of 3592 (9–273) participants. Most studies used a cross-sectional design and 20 (45%) were rated as high quality. We grouped the needs identified as emotional/psychological, assistive devices and technology, information and education, and human resources and professional services. Most studies demonstrated persistent unmet needs and that available interventions were helpful while needs generally were not met proactively, despite the predictable trajectory. Discussion: This review describes biopsychosocial and equipment interventions over the trajectory of ALS with implications for anticipatory planning by clinicians, as well as policy for coverage of necessary services and supports. Interdisciplinary expert teams could develop consensus around needs across the trajectory and recommended services and supports. To make knowledge more accessible, encourage availability of services, and clarify the need for coverage of services, we aim to develop an expert consensus-based ALS home health medical standard guidance document in collaboration with the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-249
Number of pages10
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • assistive devices
  • home care
  • home health
  • interdisciplinary care
  • motor neuron disease (MND)
  • team-based care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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