Way back before stay at home was a thing, I had a blast at the POWER Lymphatics conference! The speakers were incredible with lots of information that has already been changing my lymphedema practice. In today’s episode, I’m recapping my time at the conference, what I’ve learned, & how it’s already guiding me to improve my patient treatments.
Lymphedema examination & treatment:
Lymphedema is not rare. There are ~5 million diagnosed in the United States.
There are some exciting tools coming out hopefully later this year for the assessment of external head & neck lymphedema.
Risk reduction practices for lymphedema are not obsolete. People are still undergoing procedures that increase their risk & are not being appropriately educated until after they develop lymphedema.
Gold standard for treating lymphedema is still to start with 5x/week.
When bandaging, there are many different ways to positively affect the person’s swelling & fibrosis. Abdominal binders for lobules, sustained holds for fibrosis, so many things I hadn’t heard about until this conference.
Regarding lymphedema treatment plans of care:
- Talk $ on the first day.
- Don’t rely on caregiver/family support.
- Garment day isn’t last day of PT.
- Use sharp (dull) test.
Other lymphatic disorders:
Similar to lymphedema, lipedema is not rare. However, the diagnosis of lipedema is. I knew lipedema was a thing, but after this conference, I’m starting to see more people in my community who probably have it & may not know it. It commonly takes women years and multiple specialists to finally a get a diagnosis of lipedema, which causes frustration, anxiety, & depression for many of these patients.
Conferencing as a whole:
Teleconferencing or calling in to a conference is going to be bigger & bigger for the rest of our lives. This conference took place right before a lot of places started implementing stay-at-home orders, but some of the presenters were affiliated with larger universities & medical systems that already implemented them. A few of the presenters simply gave their presentations via Zoom, Skype, etc, & were available for questions to be emailed to them afterwards. While it would have been nice to meet the speakers in person, this was definitely a viable option to promote social distancing while still providing learning opportunities – something I see becoming more common in the next few years!
There is a lot going on right now. First of all, I am so proud of our profession for stepping up to do our part, whether that’s on the frontline working with patients or staying at home to help flatten the curve. If you need another person to talk to during this time, please know that I am here for you & my community. I would love to hear from you.