Rebecca Golden, DPT, CLT-LANA, treats patients at Penn Therapy & Fitness Cherry Hill. She is a Certified Lymphedema Therapist and is also certified in vestibular rehabilitation. Additionally, Rebecca also provides care to patients dealing with problems arising from cancer treatment such as cancer related fatigue.
What is the difference between “certified” and LANA-Certified (CLT-LANA) Lymphedema Therapists?
A therapist could be ‘certified’ or they can be certified through the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA). Any therapist that attends a continuing education course for lymphedema can call themselves certified, as most of the continuing education groups offer a certificate after completion of the course. Continuing education courses can be anywhere from 8-24 hours in duration. Being a Certified Lymphedema Therapist through LANA (CLT-LANA) means that the therapist has undergone an extensive 120 hours of training and 400 hours of clinical practice, as well as passed a difficult national exam.
Most people think of physical therapy as lifting weights or stretching. What is involved during treatment sessions during lymphedema therapy?
Throughout all of our Penn Therapy and Fitness locations, lymphedema is managed by Complete Decongestive Therapy and has four components: Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Compression Bandaging, Remedial Exercises, and Skin Care. A lymphedema physical therapy session usually starts with 30-40 minutes of Manual Lymphatic Drainage, which is a very light massage designed to stimulate your system. Skin care may be given as needed, and then compression bandages are applied to the limb. Compression bandaging involves multiple lightweight bandages applied over a soft padding. As far as exercise, a home exercise program during the first week of therapy is established for daily use.
How does a physical therapist work with a patient’s oncologist to create a comprehensive treatment plan to ensure everyone is on the same page for care?
Prior to the initial visit, also known as an evaluation, a Penn Therapy & Fitness Cherry Hill therapist will review a patient’s record in EPIC, or the Penn Medicine Charting system if available. Then after the evaluation, a copy of the report with the recommended plan of care is sent to the referring doctor. Throughout treatment, a physical therapist may contact a patient’s oncologist to discuss any concerns, questions or adaptions to the original instructions written on the prescription.
What do you wish people knew about the impact physical therapy can play on managing conditions that sideline their daily life activities?
Too many people live with conditions for months, years, or decades that could be readily managed with outpatient physical therapy. Over time, function declines and disability increases. I would rather have someone come in with a small new problem for physical therapy than a huge chronic problem.