Lymphoedema in Practice
Health Care Professionals and their role

The Health care team - who are they and what do they do?

  • These are the health care professionals involved in the diagnosis and management of patients with chronic oedema and lymphoedema.


Multidisciplinary team

  • Community nurse (including practice nurse)
    Definition - A nurse who visits and treats patients in their homes or in the GP practice, operating in a specific area or in association with a particular general practice surgery or health centre.

    Role - Direct contact with the patient, in support of the GP's clinical specialist's plan of care.
  • Definition - A specialist physician who diagnoses and treats conditions of the skin, hair and nails.

    Role - Referral may be needed in the event of cellulitis, suspected sensitivities or other skin conditions concurrent with chronic oedema or venous insufficiency.
  • Definition - Medical doctor who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education to patients.

    Role - Often the first point of contact for patients with lymphatic or venous diseases; develops care plan with other multidisciplinary team members, referring the patient as necessary; primary follow-up contact.
  • Definition - Sometimes known as nursing auxiliaries or support workers, healthcare assistants are not qualified nurses, but work in a skill-mix team with nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals.

    Role - Supports care and patients’ comfort and well-being.
  • Definition - An infectious diseases specialist is a doctor of internal medicine who is qualified as an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.

    Role - Review a patient's medical data, including records, X-rays and laboratory reports when an infection is difficult to diagnose or a patient does not respond to treatment of a disease. The specialist can provide special insight into tests that will be helpful in diagnosing and understanding the infection and preventing recurrent infections.
  • Definition - Clinical specialist practitioner who provides lymphoedema-focused care for patients, including assessment and diagnosis, and lymphoedema information to other healthcare professionals.

    Role - Assess, diagnose and treat patients with lymphoedema; measure, prescribe, fit and explain the use and care of compression hosiery; communicate information about care to other members of the multidisciplinary team.
  • Definition - A person professionally qualified to prepare and dispense medicinal drugs and other prescriptions from an appropriate practitioner; may also prescribe for medical conditions within their own competences.

    Role - Perform annual prescription reviews, linking information back to the GP; advise members of the multidisciplinary team in prescribing best practices; use frequent contact with patients to communicate to other members of the multidisciplnary team; act as a ‘safety net’.
  • Definition - Licenced healthcare professional who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility through manual therapy, therapeutic exercise and the application of electro-physical modalities.

    Role - Help increase patients’ mobility status; direct patients to GP if increased oedema or skin changes in the limb are noted.
  • Definition - A medical professional who diagnoses and treat abnormalities of the lower limb, typically in the foot and ankle.

    Role - Direct patients to GP if increased oedema or skin changes in the limb are noted; support ongoing use of compression.
  • Definition - Clinical specialist nurse who focuses on preventing injuries to the skin and underlying tissues, facilitating healing in wounds with delayed healing, and communicating information about prevention and healing to other healthcare professionals.

    Role - Assess and diagnose patients; measure, prescribe, fit and explain the use and care of compression hosiery; communicate information about care to other members of the multidisciplinary team.
  • Definition - Clinical nurse specialist who acts as a central member of the vascular team, assessing and diagnosing patient conditions, and communicating about and coordinating services and care between the hospital and the community.

    Role - Assess and diagnose patients; measure, prescribe, fit and explain the use and care of compression hosiery; communicate information about care to other members of the multidisciplinary team.
  • Definition - A specialist physician focusing on medical and surgical interventions for the treatment of diseases affecting the vascular system, including diseases of arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels.

    Role - Treat the underlying disease via surgical intervention. Direct patients to relevant practitioner if oedema increases or skin changes in the limb.

  • Anna

    Anna's story

    My name is Anna and I have secondary lymphoedema after surgery for melanoma. I created an instagram profile where I connect with patients from all over the world as I try to help them accept and embrace their condition while giving them hope and encouragement to live a better life with lymphoedema. I share how I manage my own lymphoedema on a daily basis, tips and tricks and what to wear when you are restricted by lymphoedema. I have now written a book about my journey called "Lymphedema after Cancer: Stile_Compresso" to raise awareness of lymphoedema and to give hope to other patients.

    Follow me on instagram @stile_compresso


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