On December 17 Bayhealth announced that Kim Jester, PT, CLT, and Scott Richards, DPT, CLT, have completed coursework to earn their Certified Lymphedema Therapy certification. Both earned their certificates with the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy – a challenging and prestigious program – known in the industry as the “gold standard” for lymphatic education. The physical therapists work at Bayhealth’s Outpatient Center at Milford Memorial.
Lymphedema is a swelling of a part of body due to damage in the lymph node system. The lymph system circulates protein-filled fluids throughout a person’s body. Damaged nodes cannot drain fluids the way normal, healthy nodes would. The fluid pools, creating heavy, uncomfortably swollen parts of the body.
Lymph nodes can be damaged or malfunction for many different reasons, including surgery, infection, cancer, or radiation treatment. The condition – which can also be hereditary – is often misdiagnosed. “Lymphedema is a chronic problem, and there is no cure,” said Jester. “But we can make patients’ lives more manageable and comfortable.”
Certified lymphedema therapists (or CLTs) are trained to treat and help patients self-manage the swelling that is caused by the condition. They see their patients five days per week for two to three weeks, wrapping their distended limbs with bandages in an effort to reduce the swelling, which lessens the risk of infection. Bandaging is coupled with gentle exercise and range of motion techniques.
Once the wrapping procedure begins to work, the therapists teach their patients how to maintain the swelling reduction on their own. “We treat, and then we teach,” said Richards.
“Many of our patients are self-conscious about how they look because of their condition,” said Richards. “This treatment is about increasing our patients’ quality of life.”
For more information about Bayhealth’s rehabilitative services, go to bayhealth.org/rehab or call 302-674-4700.