An ILF project developed by the Education Committee is aiming to ensure that all health professionals understand lymphoedema. International consensus has been achieved for Lymphoedema Education Benchmark Statements (LEBS) which comprise 6 basic statements in relation to professional knowledge and understanding of:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Pathophysiology of lymphoedema
- Recognition of various causes of oedema
- Recognition of lymphoedema
- Patient education and support needs
- Components of treatment
Objectives have been set for each statement of standard. This should encourage educators to evaluate their education programme and its adequacy in relation to lymphoedema. For teachers who may lack knowledge themselves in this area, LEBS goes further by offering guidance on content and relevant points at which lymphoedema related information could be integrated into curricula. The ILF plans on-going development of free online resources to make this step as easy as possible, with minimal demand for extra curriculum time.
This is not a ‘quick fix’. Registered health professionals will need to be educated for many years to come, but if future health professionals start their career with an understanding of the condition, are able to recognise it and provide appropriate advice and information on risk reduction, self-care and where to get help, we will have moved a long way!