SVH Introduces Lymphedema and Edema Management
St. Vincent Health is now offering lymphedema and edema management with the addition of our newest occupational therapist, Amy Kuitse, OTR, CLT-LANA. If you are wondering exactly what lymphedema and edema mean and what the treatment course looks like, you are not alone.
Lymphedema vs. Edema
Lymphedema refers to swelling in a person’s arm or leg caused by a blockage in the body’s lymphatic system. This is a condition that a person is can be born with (primary lymphedema); or that can be onset when a person’s lymph nodes are removed during surgery or radiation (secondary lymphedema). The latter is common among cancer patients and survivors—especially breast cancer.
Edema is similar in that it’s defined by swelling; however, it is not caused by lymph node removal, and can be present in any part of the body. Edema can be the result of medication, pregnancy, injury, surgery, or an underlying disease. Amy will be working with persons dealing with post-surgical or injury-related edema. Both lymphedema and edema patients experience pain and discomfort, and treatment is necessary.
Treatment and Management
Lymphedema management includes manual lymph drainage, compression, bandaging, and applying support garments. Amy will also work to educate patients in skin/nail care and the signs and symptoms of infection or cellulitis.
Edema management entails compression, bandaging, applying support garments, instruction in manual lymph drainage, and practicing elevation and exercises as appropriate.
Adult Occupational Therapy
In addition to lymphedema and edema management, Amy will also provide general Occupational Therapy for adults. The goal of Occupational Therapy is to help patients function safely in their everyday routine at home following a hospital visit or surgical procedure. Amy will help patients manage aspects such as bathing, dressing, meal prep and more. Patients will be provided with equipment and educated on modified techniques to help them transition to these everyday routines.
We are excited to have Amy on our Therapy Services team to offer these new services to Lake County residents.