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International Lymphoedema Framework Australia — emerging issues and the way forward

David Speakman, Kathleen Wang, Kerryn Tutt, Maree O’Connor, Neil Piller, Nicholette Conway, Robyn Box
12 August 2014

<p>Lymphoedema affects many Australians and considerably reduces quality of life for those who donot receive adequate treatment. It is a chronic condition that requires timely diagnosis and ongoing management. However, individuals working with lymphoedema continue to voice concerns about the imbalance between patient needs and available resources, as well as access inequity and a general lack of awareness about the condition by both patients and clinicians. The International Lymphoedema Framework Australia (ILFA) aims to improve lymphoedema management across Australia by developing a collaborative network of multidisciplinary service providers who work in tandem with patients to achieve a cost-effective and sustainable solution to a chronic problem. One of ILFA’s primary goals is to clearly identify the issues faced by individuals living and working with lymphoedema, recognising this is the first step to positive change. In 2013, ILFA commissioned a Broad Consultation Survey to examine the scope of these issues. A thematic analysis revealed problems with education and public awareness, paucity and inconsistency of training for service providers, prohibitive costs of ongoing management, limited patient access to information and treatment, and inequity of service access in regional and rural communities. Acknowledging the current barriers facing lymphoedema treatment and management will help improve services in the future.</p>

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