Lymphedema services will be available at Rome Memorial Hospital beginning Monday, July 2, announced Therapy Director Manon Gouse, MS, CCC-SLP.
"We are pleased to be able to expand our services to meet the needs of the community," Gouse said. "In our area, patients are waiting in excess of two to three months for lymphedema services."
"The lymphedema program complements the hospital’s services offered through the Breast Center," she added. Lymphedema is often a complication of breast cancer as well as diabetes, venus insufficiency, and other diseases or injury.
The hospital’s full-time therapist is Megan Jock, PT, DPT, CLT, doctor of physical therapy and certified lymphedema therapist.
"When there is a change in a person’s lymph system, the risk for developing lymphedema increases," Jock explained. "Normal lymphatic systems can be disrupted as a result of cancer, cancer treatment such as surgery or radiation, infection, or disease."
The lymphatic system carries lymph fluid throughout the body, collecting harmful substances and wastes to infection-fighting cells in our lymph nodes and ultimately flushed from the body. If lymph vessels are not able to drain lymph fluid adequately, fluid builds up and swelling occurs. Lymphedema usually occurs in an arm or leg.
"Although there is no cure for lymphedema, early diagnosis and treatment can prevent it from progressing," she said.
Some people are in the early stage of lymphedema and don’t know it, she added. Symptoms can develop months and even years after lymph nodes were removed or a condition was treated.
In her role as Rome Memorial Hospital’s lymphedema therapist, Jock develops a comprehensive treatment plan that includes exercises, skin care and the use of compression garments. "Upon completion of the therapy program, patients leave with the skills necessary to manage their symptoms at home," she explained.
"When lymph fluid collects in the extremities, it can be very uncomfortable," Jock noted. "Up until now, patients had to travel to Utica or farther for treatment. Through Rome Memorial Hospital’s lymphedema therapy program, I am able to provide treatment for patients close to home."
Lymphedema patients can also be self-conscious about their appearance, Jock continued. With easy access to therapy in a warm, welcoming environment, patients are more likely to keep appointments and feel better sooner.
Rome Memorial Hospital’s individualized lymphedema therapy plan can help individuals reduce pain, manage everyday tasks such as bathing and dressing, increase mobility and reduce their risk of infection.
Jock earned her doctorate in physical therapy from Utica College in 2009. A Boonville native, she was drawn to physical therapy after watching her grandmother recover from a stroke.
"I watched the physical therapists work with my grandmother. It was wonderful to see the progress she made," Megan said. "That is when I knew I wanted to help people in the same way."
She earned her lymphedema certification through the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy. Trained in Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), she is able to differentiate between a variety of peripheral edemas as well as understand applications, medical indications and contraindications; treat primary and secondary lymphedema; evaluate patients; and help patients with home maintenance and self-treatment. The rigorous training is regarded as the "Gold Standard" for the treatment of lymphedema by the International Society of Lymphology, hospital officials said.
Rome Memorial Hospital’s lymphedema therapy program is located in the Therapy Department on the lower level of the hospital with access from the Bartlett Wing entrance. Treatment sessions are typically 60-90 minutes, Monday Friday for four to five weeks.
Extended payment plans are available to assist patients with their co-payments.
For more information, call the Therapy Department at 338-7154.