Sixty top health professionals gathered in Cardiff to attend the UK’s first accredited paediatric Lymphoedema study event.
The event, which was developed and hosted by Lymphoedema Network Wales, was established to help increase the knowledge and skills of registered practitioners in managing lymphoedema in children and young people (aged 0-25).
In the Wales, lymphoedema is a growing condition with 140 children and young people receiving care. Lymphoedema is a chronic swelling to parts of the body due to lymphatic failure and it can affect people of all ages and occur in any part of the body. It can be the side-effect of surgical and radiotherapy treatment for cancer, but is also linked to faulty genes or a result of infection of injury. Having the condition affects individuals physically, psychologically and socially.
The study event was attended by registered health care professionals and Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) therapists from across the UK.
In the day-long event, at Cardiff Bay’s Life Sciences Hub, attendees were able to hear first-hand from keynote speakers including Professor Peter Mortimer, Professor of Dermatological Medicine, Dr Zac Maunder, Senior Lecturer and the College of Human & Health Sciences and Mr Nick Wilson-Jones, Consultant Paediatric Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon. Lymphoedema Network Wales’ National Clinical Lead, Melanie Thomas, and Paediatric Lymphoedema Lead, Elizabeth Coveney, were both in attendance and addressed participants in how to provide a first-rate lymphoedema service to children and young people.
The event is the first of Lymphoedema Network Wales paediatric-focussed events this year. In August the organisation is hosting Lymph Adventure Wales where young people with lymphoedema and their families are invited to a fun event where they will have the opportunity to take part in a host of activities, whilst also gaining access to practical advice and guidance.
Melanie Thomas, National Clinical Lead for Lymphoedema, said:
“We are delighted to have put on the first event of its kind across the UK with such a positive response from healthcare professionals.
“Lymphoedema in children and young people is, unfortunately, a growing condition and this event sought to provide professionals with more of an understanding of the practical help patients required as well as the psychological affect the condition can have.
“It was great to see a diverse make up of attendees and we are thrilled with the feedback.”
Dr Zac Maunder, senior lecturer from the College of Human and Health Sciences at Swansea University, attended and said:
“The day was so motivational. It was a wonderful opportunity to network with other professionals working with children, young people and families living with lymphoedema. The mother’s story of her own experience of her child’s lymphoedema taught us all that we still have so much more to learn. It would be wonderful if this could develop into an annual conference to raise public and professional knowledge in this field.”
Lymphoedema Network Wales, which is part of the NHS Wales Health Collaborative, is working in partnership with Local Health Boards across Wales to implement a national Lymphoedema Strategy. Aimed at raising awareness of lymphoedema and how simple treatment strategies can improve patients’ quality of life, it is proving highly successful.
The NHS Wales Health Collaborative is an effective resource supporting pan-Wales NHS trust and board chief executives to deliver recommendations to enable more effective joint working in NHS Wales.