A community based approach to improve lymphoedema management- the Lymphoedema Clinical Pathways Pilot Project

Leonie Naumann1, Amy McKenzie2, Gayle Sutherland3, Soraya Bews4

1Redcliffe Hospital, Anzac Avenue, Redcliffe, QLD, 4020, leonie.naumann@health.qld.gov.au
2Redcliffe Hospital, Anzac Avenue, Redcliffe, QLD, 4020, amy.mckenzie2@health.qld.gov.au
3Redcliffe Hospital, Anzac Avenue, Redcliffe, QLD, 4020, gayle.sutherland@health.qld.gov.au
4The Prince Charles Hospital, Rode Rd, Chermside, QLD, 4032, Soraya.bews@health.qld.gov.au

It has been identified that lymphoedema management services within the northern sector of the Metro North Hospital Health Service (MNHHS) district in Queensland were not being delivered to the same capacity as those in the southern sector.  A consultation process including consumers, MNHHS staff, private service providers and non-government organisations (NGOs) identified that development of a clinical pathway in accordance with best practice models could assist with the provision of improved services to the northern sector.  This led to the development of the MNHHS Lymphoedema Clinical Pathway Project (LCPP), with implementation occurring during 2016. The pathway seeks to link patients more effectively with all the available lymphoedema management services and in particular to improve the utilisation of primary care services instead of hospital based services.  This pathway utilises a government-funded approach to increase capacity for the identification and management of cancer-related lymphoedema.  During the pilot phase 15 general practitioners (GPs) have been funded to receive training on the early identification of lymphoedema, and nine community health professionals have been trained in lymphoedema management.  The pathway recommends that patients with a diagnosis of cancer are screened with a risk assessment tool, and if determined to have an identified risk of developing lymphoedema, they are monitored by a trained GP.  The GP will refer to a trained community health professional to manage this lymphoedema.  The intended outcome of this pilot is a decrease in reliance on the hospital as the primary centre for lymphoedema management, with potential applications to other clinical services.

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