How do I Choose the Best Lymphedema Therapist?

K. Gierok

Finding a quality lymphedema therapist can be a very difficult process. In order to find the right person for the job, it is essential to first determine exactly what type of education the therapist received. Evaluating and consulting references and discussing potential treatment methods is also essential in choosing a great therapist. While cost of service should not be the sole determinant of a lymphedema therapist, it should also play a part in the decision making process.

Swollen legs may be a sign of lymphedema.
Swollen legs may be a sign of lymphedema.

When searching for the best lymphedema therapist, it it important for interested patients to evaluate the education received by all potential therapists. While no governing bodies exist to standardize training requirements for lymphedema therapists, some programs exist that provide as much as 135 hours of training. Typically, these programs are designed to ensure that therapists understand both the purpose of lymphedema therapy, as well as how to perform it properly. Those who are searching for a qualified lymphedema therapist must first question the individuals in question in order to evaluate whether or not they underwent this type of training, the methods of training, and the student success in the program.

Problems with the lymph vessels may cause the ankles to swell.
Problems with the lymph vessels may cause the ankles to swell.

In order to find a great lymphedema therapist, interested therapy seekers should ask potential candidates for a list of references. This is especially important if the therapist is working for him- or herself, and not as part of an established medical organization. References provided by the potential therapists do not necessarily need to be previous patients, but should at least be individuals who have first-hand knowledge of the ability and skill level of the therapist being considered. For best results, it is important to consult with at least two or three separate references.

Those who are looking for a lymphedema therapist should ask potential candidates about their typical course of treatment. The best lymphedema therapists usually have a number of different techniques and processes that can be attempted, and are not afraid to provide examples of their work. Those who have a hard time deciding how they would treat a particular patient, who are hesitant to demonstrate their technique, or refuse to answer the question entirely probably should not be hired.

Cost of service is another consideration when selecting a lymphdema therapist. Often, this form of treatment is not covered by insurance, and therefore costs can be quite high. While price should not be the sole determining factor when choosing a lymphedema therapist, it should be considered along with the other previously mentioned topics.

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