Friday 1st July 2016
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Summer 2016
The Macmillan Lymphoedema Association (MLA) is a UK-wide community of practice working in partnership with Macmillan.
Macmillan’s involvement in education, training and the setting up of posts in lymphoedema is well established. This project began in 2003 with Dr Jacquelyn Todd, who was then lead clinician for lymphoedema services in Leeds. At the time, availability of education for lymphoedema within healthcare was very limited across the UK. The Peacock Trust provided funding for a project focusing on education for lymphoedema management and care, and subsequently Dr Todd and Macmillan developed the Macmillan Lymphoedema Education
Dr Todd was a teacher in the Casley-Smith method of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). She approached the founder of the method, Judith Casley-Smith, for help instigating its wider use, and to arrange for it to be taught as part of MLEP. MLD is a
key treatment strategy for people with lymphoedema. Yet at the time it was not widely available via the NHS – a driving force for this new training initiative.
The remit of the MLEP was to train 10 healthcare practitioners as experts and teachers in the Casley-Smith method of MLD, along with the other treatment modalities, which include compression therapy, skin care and exercise. The aim was to standardise training, ensure continued monitoring of teachers’skills through peer review, and a continually improved curriculum established on evidence-based practice. The training programme delivered by MLEP reflected the current needs of people living with lymphoedema, and provided healthcare professionals with formal training that reflected best practice and a gold standard of care.
Healthcare professionals recruited to the MLEP became known as co-teachers. They undertook a rigorous programme of training, based on the principles of learning and teaching in higher education, with a key focus on the practical aspects of teaching needed for this type of education.
Following training, each member became a Casley-Smith method teacher and the group became the Macmillan Lymphoedema Academy (now Association). Dr Todd, has since retired, but the work and aims of the MLA continue to grow and develop with from Macmillan and funding from the Peacock Trust.
Current membership, activity and achievements
There are currently 11 members of the MLA: Anita Hobday (Chair), Cath Groom, Rhian Noble-Jones, Melanie Thomas, Sue Desborough, Yolande Borthwick, Jeanne Everett, Cheryl Pike, Margaret Sneddon, Jacqueline Banks and Lynn Whiteside.
The members have a range of professional backgrounds including nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. They currently work in many different settings including universities, Welsh government, direct clinical practice and selfemployment. All continue to take part in training and MLA activity.
The MLA has trained more than 700 healthcare professionals in the management of patients with lymphoedema and chronic oedema. They continue to support professionals, by providing regular update courses to maintain competence and ensuring current evidence-based practice is being applied. Members complete updated courses every two years.
Each member of the MLA is influential and well-respected in the field of lymphoedema management. One received an MBE for services to care provision in Wales, and all work at a level within care services or education that has a direct impact on policy and strategic engagement. MLA members present at conferences, write for publications and are actively involved in national groups such as the British Lymphology Society.
The way forward
Increasingly, the scope of activities which members are involved in is progressing towards influencing, policy and service development. To reflect this, the group has recently changed its name to the Macmillan Lymphoedema Association. There is still a group focus on teaching and delivering high-quality education, and the members are currently reviewing their training based on new evidence relating to treatment options for lymphoedema.
The MLA links to Macmillan via the Consequences of Treatment team, who alongside the Peacock Trust, continue to help the group deliver planned activity and their influencing aims. Our scope of work for 2016 and beyond includes the following:
• Continue updating teaching materials to reflect changes in evidence-based practice. Ensure high-quality education is being delivered on every course. We are working with fluoroscopy as a medium to assess efficacy of MLD techniques, and will review the Casley-Smith Method in line with any findings, if necessary.
• Develop an education tool for community pharmacists covering treatment options for patients with lymphoedema and chronic oedema.
• Develop a tool to help those with uro-genital cancers at risk of developing lymphoedema to identify onset and access appropriate help.
• Continue attending conferences and events, to raise awareness of the role of the MLA and the needs of people affected by lymphoedema.
• Increase the education available for Macmillan Professionals. Maintain education programmes across the UK and develop specific programmes for non-specialists (therapists and health professionals) involved in the care of people with lymphoedema.
• Work in partnership with other national organisations on research activities and the strategic promotion of the needs of patients, their carers and families.
• Support Macmillan and others in continuing to promote best practice, and care that delivers the most effective results for people living with lymphoedema.
We need you
To develop our scope of work for 2016 and beyond, the MLA would like to know what health professionals and therapists (specialist or non-specialist) need by way of education and support. We’d like to know:
• What can we do to help?
• What do your patients ask for?
• How can we help meet your needs and those of the people you support?
Please email us. More information about the team, our work and lymphoedema can be found on our website.