October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month as well as National Physical Therapy Month
, which is all the more reason to take note of the lymphedema screening and education program
at Swedish Covenant Hospital. The program combines the efforts of physical therapists
at Galter LifeCenter
with the oncologists and surgeons in the Swedish Covenant Hospital Cancer Center
“The purpose of Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Upper Extremity Screening and Education program is to prevent, detect, and treat potential musculoskeletal side effects of breast cancer intervention,” said Nora Sullivan, the Outpatient Manager of Rehabilitation Services. “We work to identify any limitations in patients’ daily activities due to cancer treatments, educate individuals about possible complications and provide them with the tools they need to address the issues that arise.”
Swedish Covenant Hospital supports the American Cancer Society in their Prospective Surveillance Model of health care, a system of supervision and treatment that works to prevent and detect the potential side effects of breast cancer early in the episode of care. In 2012, a study found a significant advantage to the Prospective Surveillance Model; patients treated using the model had a lymphedema incidence of only 2% and an incidence of shoulder impairment of 4%, while patients who are not treated using the Prospective Service model have an average of 24% and 33% respectively. Lymphedema is a potential side effect of cancer surgery and radiation therapy that can appear in some people during the months or even years after treatment ends.
The staggering conclusion of the study only further proves the effectiveness of Swedish Covenant Hospital’s approach to a health care, which aims to treat the whole patient. The physical therapists at Swedish Covenant Hospital use practical, organic movements to evaluate a patient’s strength, range of motion and endurance in order to create personalized exercise programs consisting of a combination of manual therapy, strengthening exercises and education on how to manage their condition.
Therapies are provided at the Galter LifeCenter, where patients have access to state-of-the-art equipment and pools. “Many of our patients either are or become members the facility. We’re able to teach them exercises on the actual equipment they will be using,” said Sullivan. There are also several pathways for patients to join the Galter LifeCenter, either during or after they complete their therapy. “Exercise should be a part of our lives” she added. “We want to do everything we can to facilitate this.”
It is the goal of the Hospital’s dedicated staff to educate and instruct the patient on the prevention of lymphedema and help them to combat cancer related fatigue to aid in their recovery and improve their long term health. Through the efforts of the staff, and patients’ dedication to living independently with good health, the upper extremity screening and education program at Swedish Covenant Hospital is able to provide the best breast cancer treatment available.
For more information on Swedish Covenant Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Department, or to schedule an appointment today, please call (773)-989-1682