Lymphoedema is a swelling of the arm, leg or other part of the body because of an abnormal build-up of fluid, called lymph, in the body tissues. This can happen if cancer blocks the drainage routes or if surgery/radiotherapy damages the lymphatic system – this is called Secondary Lymphoedema. It may also occur if there is reduced drainage due to a genetic problem – this is called Primary Lymphoedema. Chronic oedema arising from long-standing venous problems is called Lympho-venous oedema.
Lymphoedema is not ‘curable’ but it can be very well controlled. Management of the condition is based on a combination of skin care, massage, exercises and compression therapy (wearing compression stockings or arm sleeves).
The Clinic is run on an appointment basis by a highly trained Lymphoedema Clinical Nurse Specialist and a Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) therapist. Clinics take place on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, 9.00am-1.00pm (some later times may be offered in specific circumstances), and on Wednesday and Thursday 9.00am-4.00pm (MLD Clinic). Your appointment will be confirmed by letter and your family doctor/consultant will also be notified. Following an initial assessment, a plan of treatment will be agreed with you and follow-up appointments arranged accordingly.
Referrals to the Clinic will be accepted from your family doctor, Community Nurse, Practice Nurse, breast cancer nurse, hospital consultant or other Allied Healthcare Professional (OT, physio, podiatrist).
Where possible, patients are asked to arrange their own transport to and from the clinic. ‘Hospital’ transport has to be arranged through your family doctor. Occasionally, a Volunteer Driver from the Hospice may be available.
The Lymphoedema Clinic is fully funded by Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity. This enables non-prescription compression garments to be provided, free of charge, to the patients. Where garments are available on GP prescription, Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity will fund the original garment and then we access the GP for ongoing garments.