Lymphoedema patients benefit from telehealth pilot

Two health professionals seated in front a computer.
FSH Senior Physiotherapist Sarah Ang and Occupational Therapist Ellen Gulin
October 28, 2019

Fiona Stanley Hospital and the WA Country Health Service are piloting telehealth to improve clinical care of malignant lymphoedema for country breast cancer patients.

The pilot is one of several telehealth projects at FSH and starting today Telehealth Awareness Week is shining a light on the use of technology to treat patients in their homes.

The FSH/WACHS TeleLymphoedema pilot project will involve a general physiotherapist or occupational therapist at a regional site reviewing a patient.

Lymphoedema is a common side effect of cancer treatments, with an estimated 20 percent of patients treated for breast, melanoma, gynaecological or prostate cancers impacted by malignancy-related lymphoedema.

Complex lymphoedema cases often require management by specialist lymphedema practitioners, yet country cancer patients face a number of barriers to accessing treatment and support close to home.

A specialist allied health practitioner from FSH will supervise and educate both the allied health professional and patient via telehealth.

The pilot will initially be implemented at two regional sites - Katanning in the Great Southern Region and Esperance in the Goldfields.

FSH Senior Physiotherapist and project lead clinician Sarah Ang said that technology would help provide country patients with timely and equitable access to specialist lymphoedema support.

“Telehealth enables the delivery of accessible and affordable lymphoedema care for country patients,” Ms Ang said.

Fiona Stanley Hospital is pleased to partner with the WACHS to offer telehealth services across regional and remote WA to mitigate the difficulties country patients face in receiving access to regular medical and nursing support due to geographical distances.

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