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Sinéad Slattery, Senior Physiotherapist, Noelle McMahon, Lymphoedema Nurse and Tracey McEntee Lymphoedema Assistant

New clinic to set lymphoedema treatment blueprint

CLARE will provide a “blueprint” for the rollout of Lympoedema Specialist Clinics across the country with the first service of its kind in primary care being piloted in Ennis.
The Lymphoedema Specialist Clinic in Clare is opening to support and manage people with this progressive, disabling chronic condition.
Lymphoedema is a chronic long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissue. This can lead to pain and a loss of mobility.
Lymphoedema can severely impact quality of life and lead to complications if not diagnosed early and managed correctly.
The new clinic, opening on May 10, will bring together a nurse, physiotherapist and a therapy assistant to offer lymphoedema assessments, treatment and supported self-care. The clinic will also provide treatment for lipoedema which requires similar management to lymphoedema.
The service will be accessible for people in the county of Clare, population 118,800, where there is a potential 308 lymphoedema patients.
Children and young people with lymphoedema will also be seen in the service. The service is based in an out-patient setting at the Primary Care Hub, Gort Road, Ennis, V95.
The service will take referrals from consultants, GPs, HSCP and nursing and will include links with the UL Hospital Group for people with lymphoedema diagnosed in hospital.
There will be a direct referral pathway from the new lymphoedema early detection project also starting in May in the oncology services which is being funded by the Irish Cancer Society.
Education will be available for local GPs, primary care teams and acute services to ensure early, appropriate referrals.
The integrated pathways between acute and primary care will ensure that people with lymphoedema and lipoedema are diagnosed early and referred for treatment to limit disease progression and reduce the need for time consuming and costly intense treatment.
Although lymphoedema is not curable, it can be successfully managed with an emphasis on education, prevention, early detection and up to date effective standardised treatment. This will lead to improved quality of life for patients and efficiency for the HSE.
Kay Morris, Project Manager Lymphoedema Services (Primary Care Strategy & Planning) commented “People with lympoedema do find it difficult to access services, it will be a great addition to our primary care services in Clare and fits into the Slaintecare model.
“Clare will be a blueprint for rolling out and further developing Lympoedema Specialist Clinics across the country.
“It is exciting to now have a dedicated lymphoedema clinic, it will help the HSE focus on early detection and enable us to provide services for cancer related and non-cancer related lymphoedemas.”
Grainne Ryan, Project Lead Implementation of Lymphoedema Services. (Director of Public Health Nursing Clare) said, “It is a huge responsibility rolling out the first specialist clinic.
“We are lucky in Clare we have great team to get this off the ground, previously there was very limited access to services with some patients having to travel abroad, it is wonderful now we can take referrals and treat people in their own community in Clare.”

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