Huntington’s disease patients, families can get telehealth consults

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A telehealth resource that facilitates free online therapy sessions for Huntington’s disease patients and their families now is available across the nation.

The Huntington’s Disease Society of America has launched the service, which will use the telehealth consultation platform of American Well to access licensed social workers and psychologists who can help patients manage the considerable emotional stress and symptoms of Huntington’s.

The disease society describes the symptoms of Huntington’s as having ALS, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease, all at the same time. The consultations are free because of funding through a grant from Teva Pharmaceuticals.

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About half of patients seen at clinics that treat Huntington’s are referred to counseling, but only 15 percent to 25 percent actually seek it, executives of participating organizations say.

“This program fills an urgent gap in care and removes the barriers of cost, geography and scheduling that too often keep families from seeking the help they need,” says Louise Vetter, president and CEO of the society.

Children of a parent with Huntington’s have a 50-50 chance of contracting the disease, the symptoms of which more than 30,000 Americans have, with an estimated 200,000 at risk to inherit the disease.

Use of the telehealth portal can be accessed by downloading a free app here. Use the codes HDSA or HD to access the Huntington site to schedule appointments. No insurance is required; however, patients are limited to eight visits per calendar year.

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