Upper Limbs & Things specialises in treating individuals with circumstances that have affected their Lymphatic systems. It can occur after surgery or trauma, where the lymph nodes are removed or part of the lymphatic system is damaged or it can be a condition that someone is born with (congenital). This may cause the lymphatic system to potentially work less efficiently than it did and can result in swelling which could be difficult to move.
A qualified Lymphoedema specialist can evaluate and treat conditions related to the lymphatic and venous systems in the body.
The therapist works closely with Surgeons, Specialists, GPs, allied health team members and industry specialists as well as the patient, to provide comprehensive, individualised care. This often starts within days after surgery and throughout cancer treatment (if applicable). Given that Lymphoedema is a chronic condition and does not have a cure but can be suitably managed, patients can, and may need to, access treatment at any stage of their life.
Gold standard treatment of care for Lymphoedema is Complex Lymphatic Therapy which includes:
- Skin care
- Manual lymphatic drainage and compression management
- Self-management strategies such as exercise and self-massage
Referral to other Allied Health professionals such as Exercise Physiologists or Physiotherapists can be beneficial in Lymphoedema management. Graded or guided exercise programs can assist in preventing “overload” of the Lymphatic system, whilst allowing for joint protection and normalizing movement patterns.
Compression management can include bandaging schedules with a view to decrease limb volume, as well as compression garment prescription. Compression garment prescription is unique to each individual and their lymphoedema presentation. Compression prescription can encompass compression garments, night garments, wraps or sequential pneumatic pumps.
Upper Limbs & Things also provide wound care post-surgery or post-injury, including assessment and redressing of burns, wounds, ulcers, grafts, flaps, lacerations or abrasions.
Assessment of how to perform tasks and task modification is integral to the management process to enable continued independence. As such, it is common to recommend devices to assist in getting compression garments on and off. This not only preserves joints and energy but aims to ensure longevity of garments prescribed.