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Pulse Home Health Care practices skilled health care procedures firmly rooted in the latest research and best practice policies. We routinely mail bulletins to physicians and other medical referral sources to highlight how we help patients and to explain the scientific basis for different services. Here we share selected physician bulletins about Pulse's Home Health Services. If you have questions about how home health could help you, please contact us today.

The Emotional Toll of Lymphedema

Emotional Toll LymphedemaFrustration with a lack of communication and options from medical providers, emotional toll, and disability emerged as common complaints among patients with lymphedema in a survey conducted by Peninsula Medical.1  Ninety-seven percent of respondents expressed frustration with a perceived lack of communication from medical providers.  Specifically, complaints about communication referred to no warning about swelling before procedures such as radiation, lack of education on the subject after swelling occurred, and a failure to present management options.  Eighty-one percent of respondents felt “sorrow” as a result of the changes lymphedema caused in their lives.  Common themes among responses included agitation over descriptions of lymphedema as “inconvenient” or “uncomfortable.”  Many patients would describe their lymphedema as disabling, life limiting, and painful, so less severe descriptions from medical providers evoke negative responses from some patients.  The potential for isolation also emerged as a common theme.

Below are quotes from patients with lymphedema that are indicative of commonly heard comments (emphasis added).

  • "I felt helpless and not knowing what to do, nowhere to turn and out of control of my life, after cancer treatment. I was greatly relieved to know that I could control this disfiguring disorder."
  • “There is almost mourning over the loss of being ‘normal’, of having a huge amount of spontaneity lost, of having to constantly be aware of this problem."
  • “I can't drive like I used to because my leg can't take being in that position for very long. It's a four hour drive to my mother's house, and I haven't been up to see her since August because of the pain.”
  • “I felt frustration by the lack of information.”
  • “The fact that some doctors didn't even recognize it as lymphedema was frustrating. When I was told there was no cure and that was the end of the discussion on the doctor's part. Little do the physicians realize how devastating it is to the patient to be told that there isn't a thing that can be done."
  • “While doctors seem to know the term lymphedema, they do not have an appreciation for the complications involved or the range of treatment options. I was told by a vascular specialist that I had lymphedema (I already knew that) and that while it was ‘inconvenient’ I should just get used to it. Also that it is in no way disabling or painful, just a problem with vanity."
  • After having therapy from a good therapist last year, my life has turned around for me and I have only had one arm infection since that time. I take daily antibiotics for maintenance and practice MLD (manual lymphatic drainage), exercise and massage each and every day and use my day and night sleeves."
  • "I had a terrific GYN-Onc surgeon, who basically gave me straight odds on the risks, which I took."

Numerous authors state that uncontrolled swelling or edema damages the lymphatic system and can result in lymphedema.  By managing post-surgical or post-radiation swelling or edema before it causes irreversible damage to the lymphatic system, manual lymphatic drainage works to prevent swelling from progressing to irreversible lymphedema. Numerous studies have demonstrated the safe efficacy of complete decongestive therapy2-5 and of manual lymphatic drainage alone6-11 (without compression garments). Prescribe a short course of manual lymphatic drainage soon after surgery or radiation to prevent progressive damage to the lymphatic system and to enhance what capacity remains in the system.  Pulse Home Health Care’s Lymphedema Management Program includes manual drainage, fitting of compression garments, remedial exercises, self-care training, and dietary counseling.

Please let your patients know that Pulse Home Health Care
works to prevent lymphedema and helps manage existing cases.

2325 Severn Ave, Ste 5 Pulse Home Health CareMetairie LA 70001 Pulse Home Health Care(504) 831-7778

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