Background A dedicated lymphoedema specialist clinic in a hospice setting has provided lymphoedema treatment for more than 14 years for people living with a cancer diagnosis (PLWCD). Despite this, many people referred to the service were not aware of lymphoedema, the risk factors or the role of Hospicecare.
Aims To implement an education programme. To provide knowledge and skills through an education programme for healthcare professionals (HCPs) to identify lymphoedema and how to refer to the service. To empower PLWCD on how to reduce the risks of developing lymphoedema and to recognise when to seek early intervention and a referral to the clinic. To demonstrate how hospice and palliative care services are changing and adapting.
Method In addition to formal training days, and an acknowledgement that ‘one size doesn’t fit all’, alternative education sessions were incorporated within nurse leadership programmes, GP training and Primary Healthcare trust lunchtime sessions. Also education for cancer support groups and post cancer treatment ‘Moving forward groups’.
Results Since March 2017, a total of 260 HCPs, 40 students and more than 100 PLWCD have received education and are now better informed about lymphoedema. Changing the concept of the role of the hospice.
Conclusion Responding to overwhelming positive feedback and recommendations received, all previous education sessions for HCPs will continue with additional specific sessions for other disciplines. An evening seminar will also be introduced. One awareness session for PLWCD has resulted in four appropriate referrals to the service for treatment, who without this education programme would not now be receiving specialist care.
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