Specialist nurses who treat a distressing condition which causes chronic swelling to limbs and other areas of the body are taking part in an awareness week.
A special drop-in event takes place at the Great Victoria Hotel in Bradford on Wednesday, September 12, from 10.30am to 3pm, as part of the British Lymphology Society Awareness Week.
Healthcare professionals, patients and members of the public are urged to drop in to meet Airedale Hospital ’s lymphoedema team and find out more about the treatment of the condition and products that can be used.
Lymphoedema is a long-term condition which causes chronic swelling due to problems with the lymph drainage system. It can be hereditary and results in poor functioning of the lymphatic system and it can be triggered by pregnancy, trauma, surgery or cancer treatment.
Pat Gardner, lead lymphoedema nurse at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Raising awareness of lymphoedema is vital as some people can suffer for years before being referred for help and diagnosed correctly.
“Delays in treatment often have a detrimental physical and psychological effect on patients, causing them unnecessary pain, discomfort, anxiety and depression. This results in an increased cost for the NHS due to unnecessary hospital admissions as people with heavy limbs have a greater risk of falls and recurrent cellulitis.”
The lymphoedema service is run by a team of six people who have more than 500 patients across Bradford and Airedale. There are weekly clinics at Westbourne Green Health Centre, Undercliffe Health Centre, Canalside Health Centre in Bingley and a monthly clinic at Ilkley Coronation Hospital.
Patients are taught how to manage their condition and treatment includes skin care, promoting hygiene to reduce the risk of infection; exercise to propel lymph fluid and improve mobility; compression, usually in the form of stockings and arm sleeves, and massage to enhance drainage.
Referral to the service is by GP, specialist doctor or nurse. The team also welcomes enquiries and are available to discuss any special needs for their patients. For more information, contact (01535) 292712 between 8.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
The Lymphoedema Support Network is a national organisation providing advice, leaflets and a newsletter. Contact them on 020 7351 4480, or visit lymphoedema.org/lsn.