At the time of global, national and local crisis it can feel very scary for us all especially if we are living with a life long condition such as lymphoedema/lipoedema.
Lymphoedema Services have had to make some very very difficult decisions and most have been temporarily suspended. Independent Lymphoedema Practitioners have probably by now, also suspended their work, and often sole income.
Many services operate from, hospices, hospitals, health centres. All non urgent medical face to face care has been suspended in most of these facilties.
1.To protect patients and staff from spreading the virus. Reducing social exposure and contact as much as possible.
2.To maintain a non contaminated environment for re-opening time
3.To enable all clinical staff to be re deployed, into more critical care. In the case of hospices this is to focus on In patients and those who are dying at home of terminal illness and who need nurses to go out to them. ( exposed to the risk of C.19)
4.To enable logistical decisions and functions to continue, through remote working. (Ensuring medical equipment and medicines are still supplied, or appealing for donations of PPE's etc for their teams, and ensuring safe working practices are in place for staff and patients being treated.) Hospices, don't get supplies if not NHS
5. To ensure that they have enough clinicians to care for the most urgent patients, even as staff begin to self isolate because they have COVID19.
What about Independent Practitioners. Surely they can still treat patients?
Well no... by now we should all be socially distanced, only making journeys outside home for essential shopping or essential working.
We should not be visiting people's homes, even if all parties feel well... covid 19 is invisible, stays on contacted surfaces for days, including clothing, linen, towels.
Likewise we should not be receiving patients into our work spaces, especially when that may be in the Practitioners home.
The only way to stop C19 is to keep away from others . That 1 face to face to check someones hosiery, could be the instance when either party contract C19 and worse still C19 is then shed into the clinic/treatment room/building, putting everyone else at risk.
So while it is extremely difficult living with lymphoedema especially if it is not well controlled, or newly diagnosed, or complex...... not spreading COVID19 takes absolute priority . As soon as it is safe to return to `normal' please be assured that the teams who are currently working tirelessly in their re deployed roles, will also work tirelessly to get clinics and services back on track.
Do use LSN for support. And your clinic, therapist will likely also offer telephone or email advice.. They may also offer skype consultations/advice calls.
We are in this together and we are still there for you all.
Please keep well, keep safe. Stay home.