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Lymphoedema Awareness Week 2019

01 May 2019

3– 9 March 2019 was Lymphoedema Awareness Week. 

We thought you might like to look back at how we celebrated each day, shared useful information and raised awareness of this condition. 

Monday 4th March 
This week we’re saying #SockIt to Lymphoedema!!! and today is the start of Lymphoedema Awareness Week
Lymphoedema is a chronic and permanent swelling, shown here in the leg
Do you know what Lymphoedema is (pronounced ’limf-o-dee-ma’)? 

It’s a chronic and permanent swelling caused by having too much fluid in the cells. Usually it happens in the arms or legs, but it can be anywhere in the body. There is no cure, but a lot can be done to help people who have it.

Find out more about the Arthur Rank Hospice Lymphoedema Outpatient Clinic, at arhc.org.uk/lymphoedema-service.asp 

Tuesday 5th March 
13 year old Megan who first showed signs of Lymphoedema in her right leg at six weeks old
We caught up with Megan who attends our Lymphoedema clinic every six months for treatment on her right leg. 

Megan who is now 13 years old first showed signs of Lymphoedema at six weeks old when she woke up one morning with a swollen leg - there is no history of Lymphoedema in Megan’s family not even in her two younger sisters. 

When Megan tells her friends about having Lymphoedema the funniest thing she was asked was ’Does your foot go green?’ - we can assure you Megan’s special leg (as Megan likes to call it) is not green and we think Megan is altogether a very special girl! 

Wednesday 6th March
Specialist hosiery for patients with  Lymphoedema
 Imagine being told you can only keep two pairs of socks from your sock drawer...It would certainly have quite an impact on your washing that’s for sure! 

Currently across the UK, people suffering with Lymphoedema are only entitled to two pairs of specialist hosiery every 6-12 months! 

These stockings are worn every day and are an essential part of the treatment allowing patients to self-manage the condition, one of the aims of our clinic.
 
Patients can purchase more stockings, but these can range from £34 for the simplest below the knee pair of stockings up to £300 for custom made tights. 

Other ways our team teaches patients to self-manage their condition is through self massage and a night time skin care routine to prevent cellulitis. 

Thursday 7th March 
Tracy Hancock, Lymphoedema Clinical Specialist at Arthur Rank Hospice
We thought it was only right to re-share Tracy’s 30 Second Thursday.

Tracy has been helping and supporting our Lymphoedema patients for over 21 years now - take a read below for an insight into what her roles involves. 

Name: Tracy Hancock

Job: Clinical Specialist Lymphoedema

Where & when will we be most likely to see you:
 “You will find me in the Wellness Outpatient Centre in the lymphoedema clinic most of the time! I have now worked at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity for 21 years, starting out as the Hospice physiotherapist ( 21 years ago there were only 12 hours of physiotherapy time in total ! How things have changed for the better!). Rapidly, moving on to work within the lymphoedema service, which I now head-up with my colleague Sue Rossitter.

“Lymphoedema is a long-term condition, and the lymphoedema clinic here treats all causes of the condition. 

Lymphoedema isn’t curable but can be managed by skincare/compression/exercise/massage techniques/kinesiotape/low level light therapy … there are so many more techniques available these days, and the world of lymphoedema is evolving at an exciting pace. 

The key to all lymphoedema management is educating your patient to become an expert in the self-management of their condition.”

Best thing about what you do
“I enjoy meeting a new patient who may be anxious and have little knowledge of their condition, and them leaving their Initial Assessment much more educated and happier about their Lymphoedema.”

Tell us something about you that we didn’t know before today...
 “I play the flute!”

Friday 8th March 
Jenny, who uses the Lymphflow machine in the clinic at Arthur Rank Hospice
We’ve been learning some surprising facts about Lymphoedema this week and meeting some great people. 

Jenny, who has had secondary Lymphoedema for 10 years, came in to use our charity funded Lymphflow machine in the clinic which replicates the massage our physiotherapists can do, but can cover a wider area quicker. 

This supports her own self-care at home which includes daily massages, skin care and wearing compression tights.

For Jenny food and nutrition is really important too, so much so she opened her own Health Food Farm Shop at The Old Granary in Linton. 

Jenny’s top tips that help her include her meat free and organic diet, keeping a healthy weight and looking after herself to help manage fatigue. Thanks Jenny. 

Saturday 9th March 
Sue and Tracy model the FLECS socks at Arthur Rank Hospice
Lymphoedema Awareness Week is coming to an end and at Arthur Rank Hospice we believe that education is just as important as raising awareness of Lymphoedema - a condition that affects almost 430,000 people in the UK.

This is why our Lymphoedema service and Tissue Viability service are working together to provide education and pathways of care to support community staff managing patients with chronic oedema and leaking legs in their own homes. 

Part of this is the FLECS care plan that is shared with the patient.

FLECS stands for;
  • Foot Hygiene
  • Leg Elevation
  • Exercise
  • Compression
  • Skin Care
To help our team teach the above techniques to staff we had these nifty socks made!! 

For more info on our Lymphoedema Clinic and the work they do please visit arhc.org.uk/lymphoedema-service.asp 

 

 

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