When you suspect that you may be suffering from an ineffective lymphatic system, you need to do everything you can to seek out the best quality therapy available. The subjective nature of this illness makes this a difficult goal to achieve.
You don’t necessarily need to learn everything there is to know about lymphedema, but you should be familiar with the causes, symptoms, and treatments. This will help you to communicate with your care provider and also allow you to gauge your own progress. Read up on the subject, and keep yourself informed of the latest trends and practices. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or make suggestions when you feel it is warranted. With knowledge, your care is in your own hands.
Certifications and Credentials
You should know what kind of expertise any prospective care provider might have. There are no mandated requirements that providers must follow. Anyone can claim to be a qualified specialist. Fortunately, lymphedema care is a specialized industry that self-regulates. A good therapist should have a certificate from the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA). The National Lymphedema Network (NLN) endorses these certifications.
Searching For an Expert
It may not be easy to find a qualified expert immediately. Not every therapist actively advertises lymphedema care as part of his or her practice. Fortunately the LANA and the NLN both have directories of care providers. It can also be useful to check with the Academy of Lymphatic Studies for professionals interested in this specialized field.
Qualifying the Expert
Focusing on only the credentialed candidates, search through online reviews of each potential therapist’s practice. Look for someone who has a generally favorable feedback. Also check to make sure that all licensing is up to date and that there are no registered complaints with consumer protection agencies like the Better Business Bureau.
You want to trust your care to someone that you are able to develop a relationship with. Schedule an interview either by phone or in person. Be ready with some questions to ask to help determine their qualifications:
- How much specific lymphedema training have you had?
- Are you certified with the LANA?
- How much of your practice is devoted to Lymphedema?
- How will you handle my case?
- What is your availability during the week?
Evaluate how the individual responds and your own reactions. Do they seem interested? Are they confident? Do you feel comfortable with them?
Evaluate Your Treatment
After you have been seeing a particular therapist for a while, you should be able to tell how well things are going. Make sure you are comfortable with the pace of your progress and the way that your therapist is managing your case. If you suspect that things could be handled more efficiently with another provider, don’t hesitate to make the switch.