Lymphoedema: A guide for clinical services

Published: September 2018

Lymphoedema is a chronic swelling of a limb or body region. It is associated with significant morbidity, loss of function and, on rare occasions, mortality.

Poor management of lymphoedema can:

  • have detrimental effects on a person’s physical and psychosocial health
  • cause pain and discomfort
  • increased susceptibility to acute cellulitis, requiring hospitalisation and antibiotic therapy.

Lymphoedema: A guide for clinical services identifies best-practice management of lymphoedema as shown in the following seven principles:

  1. Early identification, education and monitoring of patients at risk of lymphoedema
  2. Identification, assessment and diagnosis of lymphoedema by a trained health professional
  3. Patient-centred education to enable self-management of lymphoedema
  4. Comprehensive treatment tailored to patient needs and clinical reasoning
  5. Correct provision of compression garments according to clinical recommendations
  6. Effective management of lymphoedema-associated cellulitis, including prevention of recurrence
  7. Effective response to inpatients with lymphoedema

This document provides guidance for NSW local health districts, speciality health networks and health professionals to support optimal care for people affected by lymphoedema.

View the guide

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