The Lymphoedema Service provides treatment and management for all patients experiencing Lymphoedema caused by cancer or its treatment.
What is Lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema is the name given to a swelling in the tissues beneath the skin that occurs when the lymph fluid in the tissues cannot drain away. Lymphoedema can affect any part of the body including the head, neck and genitals. However, it most commonly affects a limb and sometimes the adjoining area such as the trunk and/or breast.
When does Lymphoedema occur?
Lymphoedema is classified as either Primary or Secondary. Primary Lymphoedema may be inherited, due to under-development of the Lymphatic System that may be evident at birth or show up later in life.
More commonly Lymphoedema may develop following an operation or radiotherapy treatment to treat cancer in areas of the body where lymph nodes and vessels are present. The swelling may occur immediately after treatment or many years later. It can also occur as a result of infection or trauma.
How can Lymphoedema treatment help me?
We aim to help you by:
- providing an individualised treatment programme
- controlling the swelling
- improving the comfort and function of the affected area
- fully explaining your condition and how you can help manage it
- advising on how to improve and maintain the condition of your skin
- enhancing your quality of life
How do I contact the Lymphoedema Service?
Your doctor or nurse can contact the Lymphoedema Service for advice if you are developing lymphoedema related to cancer or its treatment, between 09.00 and 15.00, Monday to Friday. If we are unable to answer the call, an answerphone service is available and we will answer the call as soon as possible.
If you wish to be referred to the clinic for assessment, we do require a referral from your GP, Consultant, Clinical Nurse Specialist or other Health Care Professional.
Who will care for me?
You will be cared for by a qualified team of professionals comprising a Lymphoedema Nurse Practitioner, Physiotherapist and Therapies Assistant.
What can I expect when I see the Lymphoedema Nurse Practitioner?
Once a referral is received, an appointment will be made for you to attend our out-patient clinic at Jersey Hospice Care.
At your initial appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss your condition, symptoms and any problems or anxieties. The Lymphoedema Nurse Practitioner will also undertake a physical assessment of your condition.
Following this, a treatment plan will be discussed with you to identify the most appropriate way of managing the condition.
Generally there are four components of treatment:
- Skin care
- External support/compression
- Exercise and movement
- Simple/self Lymphatic drainage
For patients with more severe swelling, we may recommend additional treatments such as
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage
- Lymphoedema bandaging
- Intermittent Sequential Pneumatic Compression
Your treatment will be tailored to suit you. Emphasis is placed on holistic assessment and appropriate treatments according to patient’s need and includes all aspects of Lymphoedema treatment.
Self-management, education and risk reduction is also included as part of the overall care package. With expert care, all patients experiencing Lymphoedema are given the best opportunity and knowledge to control, improve and self-manage their condition and therefore improve the quality of their lives.
How long will the Lymphoedema Nurse Practitioner be involved in your care?
This will depend on your needs and symptoms. We aim to teach you the skills needed to successfully manage the condition. Our involvement compliments the roles of other healthcare professionals caring for you. When you no longer have any issues that require our specialist skills, we will discharge you from the service. However, you can be re-referred at a later date if needed.