April 29 - National Occupational Therapy Month - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

April 29 - National Occupational Therapy Month

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GOOD MORNING DELMARVA - The month of April has been designated National Occupational Therapy Month. This may not mean much to many, unless they suffer from illness or injury, or recover from surgery and find everyday activities such as getting dressed or using a phone a challenge. That's when Occupational Therapy becomes a viable solution.

One of the certifications that many are unaware occupational therapists may acquire is obtained to work specifically with lymphedema patients. Repeatedly found in cancer patients, lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to the lymph nodes as part of cancer treatment.   The condition often occurs in breast cancer patients but may also be diagnosed after surgery for uterine cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma, melanoma and ovarian cancer

In order to treat and provide lymphedema therapy, Occupational Therapists are required to take a special course and become lymphadema certified.  The certification process covers procedures for lymphatic drainage, bandaging, soft tissue mobilization techniques, garment review, exercise, diet and nutrition, skin care and the proper use of compression devices.  

The two most prominent methods of treatment for lymphedema are the Vodder Method and the Leduc Method.  While fundamentally similar, differences between the two methods exist.  The Vodder Method focuses more on the use of pressure while the Leduc Method trains therapists in the use of compression devices including non-elastic bandaging and compression garments.  Both methods offer training courses and provide certifications at the end of each course.

"As a Vodder Certified therapist I can treat patients for lymphedema in addition to providing
edema management to patients with vascular disease," said Allison Hoehn OTR/L, Peninsula Home Care Certified Lymphedema Therapist.  "Lymphedema may not be talked about regularly but has certainly become more prevalent (secondary lymphedema) as cancer rates increase.  The public needs to be aware of the signs, symptoms and treatments available today."  

"We are pleased to offer specialized therapy to patients with lymphedema," said Therese Ganster, Peninsula Home Care Community Liaison.  "Our goal is to help people - no matter what the diagnosis - overcome problems and provide solutions that assure healthy, more independent living."

About Peninsula Home Care
Peninsula Home Care provides health care services, resources and "real world" therapy in the home.  The home health staff provides and coordinates a plan of care and/or therapy that a patient's doctor orders to help maintain the patient's physical, mental and social well-being.  Services include nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology and access to medical social workers and home health aides.  

Peninsula Home Care ensures that all patients are involved in their plan of care and strives to give them every opportunity to maintain their independence in the home.  The agency has recently surpassed serving 30,000 patients and has been named to the "Home Health Care Elite" for the third time in five years. The Home Health Care Elite, awarded by OCS Home Care, recognizes the top 25-percent of home health agencies based on performance measures in quality outcomes, quality improvement and financial performance. For more information visit www.peninsulahomecare.com.

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