Heidi Allen, our Lymphoedema Nurse Practitioner runs her lymphoedema clinics at the hospice on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9am to 5pm

If you are affected by lymphoedema, please speak to your GP or specialist nurse who can refer you to us, or contact Heidi directly for advice on 01295 811 866.

What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is swelling that is caused by a build-up of fluid in the body’s tissues. It’s most commonly seen in the arms or legs, but can affect any part of the body. The most common cause of Lymphoedema in the UK is cancer and its treatments, which stop the lymphatic system from functioning properly.

Lymphoedema symptoms

The swelling can cause discomfort, tightness, loss of function and mobility in the affected area, and dry scaly skin. There is also an increased risk of infection in the swollen limb.

As well as affecting how you feel about yourself, if left untreated the swelling is likely to get worse and the tissues in the limb may harden.

Can Lymphoedema be treated?

It isn’t possible to repair damage caused to the lymphatic system, but it can be eased, reduced and controlled to help you feel more comfortable. Our lymphoedema practitioner will work with you and provide comprehensive advice and support.

The following advice and treatment is commonly given to help ease the symptoms of lymphoedema:

Skin Care: keeping the area clean and well moisturised reduces the risk of infection by helping to prevent the development of dry, cracked or broken skin.

Gentle Exercise: is important to increase or maintain flexibility and the full range of joint movement and to promote muscle pump action, which encourages the movement and drainage of the fluid.

Compression: the use of specialist compression garments such as stockings or sleeves or compression bandages to reduce the swelling.  The affected limbs or areas of the body are measured so that made-to-measure garments can be ordered specifically for you.  We have a specialist supplier that we use for garments.

Lymphatic Massage: this is a very light massage technique designed to improve tissue drainage and improve circulation throughout the body, reducing congestion in swollen areas. Simple Lymph Drainage (SLD) techniques can be taught to patients to enable them to continue with treatment themselves at home and therefore maximise the benefits to the full. Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a more thorough treatment given by an MLD therapist.  Our lymphoedema nurse practitioner, Heidi, is fully qualified and experienced to give this treatment.