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Lymphoedema:
A guide for clinical services

Lymphoedema is a chronic swelling of a limb or body region and 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. Pain and discomfort are frequent symptoms, and people with lymphoedema have increased susceptibility to acute cellulitis, requiring hospitalisation and antibiotic therapy.

The Agency for Clinical Innovation has developed Lymphoedema: A guide for clinical services to identify 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 will provide guidance for local health districts, speciality health networks and health professionals to support optimal care for people affected by lymphoedema across NSW.

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