First All-Ireland guidelines launched for people living with lymphoedema

HSE Press Release

Thursday 24th November 2022

Launch of the ‘All-Ireland Lymphoedema Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Assessment and Management of Lymphoedema’ provide guidance and standards for improving the lives of people living with lymphoedema

Today, (Thursday, 24th November 2022) the HSE, together with the Lymphoedema Network Northern Ireland and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland, have launched the first ‘All-Ireland Lymphoedema Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Assessment and Management of Lymphoedema’.

More than 45,000 people in Ireland and Northern Ireland live with lymphoedema, an incurable and chronic illness that causes swelling in the body’s tissue. This evidence-based clinical practice guideline has been launched to support clinicians and ultimately improve the quality of life of people living with lymphoedema across Ireland.

These guidelines support the implementation of good lymphoedema care in all settings and improve the experience and safety of people in our care. The guideline will provide healthcare professionals with clear, evidence-based guidance on the diagnosis, assessment and management of patients with all types of lymphoedema.

Developed in collaboration with clinicians, service user representatives, and key stakeholders, including Higher Educations Institutions, across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, they are a guide for managers and commissioners to support the development and modernisation of pathways of lymphoedema care, education and research.

The All Ireland Lymphoedema Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Assessment and Management of Lymphoedema provide:

  • The most up-to-date, evidence based recommendations to support best clinical practice, standardisation of care and improved patient outcomes.
  • An in-depth evidence review and recognition of changes in pathways, healthcare practices and advances in technology that support the Sláintecare strategy.
  • A progressive way of integrating specialist services and non-specialist services and promoting supported self management in the community.
  • A focus on prevention and early detection in areas that are high risk for lymphoedema
  • Education requirements for lymphoedema services and service users.
  • An implementation and evaluation plan

Speaking about the guidelines, HSE Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry said: “The availability of these guidelines will support the implementation of evidence based, standardised lymphoedema care in all health care settings and improve the experience and safety of people in our care. It will provide guidance to healthcare workers on prevention, early detection, effective treatments and supported self-care to ensure that every patient receives optimal care. The recommended treatment pathways are patient-centred and support the Sláintecare strategy of the right care, in the right place, at the right time.”

Kay Morris, HSE Project Manager Lymphoedema Services said: “Over the last decade there has been significant advances in lymphatic associated research which necessitated the replacement of the CREST Diagnosis, Assessment and Management of Lymphoedema Guideline (Clinical Resource Efficiency Support Team, 2008).

“The updated evidence review in this guideline, and recognition of changes in pathways, healthcare practices and technology are essential to provide optimal care to the increasing number of people living with lymphoedema. The guideline also supports the HSE’s Lymphoedema and Lipoedema Treatment in Ireland A Model of Care for Ireland (2018) (PDF, 2.8 MB, 74 pages).”

Ann Mulvin, service user representative on the guideline development group said: ”I was delighted to be involved in the drafting of these guidelines representing Lymphoedema Ireland. It’s an exciting time and great that Lymphoedema is finally being recognised and that services in the future that are so badly needed will be provided.”

Last updated on: 24 / 11 / 2022