Community nurses can empower people living with lymphoedema
While there has been a half-hearted shift in recent years towards more patient education, self-care and patient empowerment, we still operate within a system that teaches patients to give themselves over to the medical system for a solution to their conditions. Intrinsic to such an approach is the permission for patients not to take their conditions into their own hands, which runs counter to the concept of patient accountability and empowerment.
Lymphoedema is a long-term condition that has been particularly associated with a lack of patient compliance (Wigg, 2017). Lymphoedema is characterised by chronic swelling, pain and heaviness in the tissues, and is caused by protein-rich fluid accumulating in the interstitial spaces as a result of a lack of lymphatic drainage (Wigg, 2017; Mendes, 2022). It is estimated that more than 300 000 people in England alone are affected by lymphoedema (Cooper-Stanton, 2019).
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