Exploring the course of lymphedema care: An occupational therapy perspective

Gifford, Virginia
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This was a qualitative study to identify the causes behind failed lymphedema treatment and to posit practical, therapeutic strategies for occupational therapists to adopt in developing interventions for their patients. The primary methods for information gathering were face-to-face interviews and chart reviews. There were 6 participants from an original sample of 44. The results of the interview fell into five basic themes: I) health before lymphedema; 2) experiences during treatment; 3) management after treatment; 4) patient perspective of how lymphedema affected areas of occupational performance; and 5) viewpoints of the emotional effects of the disease. The results showed that the educational process needs improvement, especially in the area of occupational performance. These included donning/doffing their compression garments, replacement of the garments, making lifestyle changes necessary for control of their swelling, dealing with social/psychological changes of the disease and improving problem-solving skills over the duration of the disease.

Lymphedema, Occupational Therapy, Lymphedema treatment, Psychological aspects