We are proud to be supporting the British Lymphology Society’s 2020 Campaign – EveryBodyCan. The BLS provided us with this blog looking at ways in which nurses can support the campaign.
We are delighted that the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland is supporting the British Lymphology Society 2020 Campaign EveryBodyCan. Lymphoedema, chronic oedema and lymphorrhoea (wet legs) are problems regularly encountered by nurses in community settings and can be challenging to manage.
Lymphoedema, caused by failure of the lymphatic system results in swelling, skin and tissue changes and a predisposition to infection. Thought to affect between 21-31,000 people in Scotland, this is considered an underestimate. To find out more about Lymphoedema and what the lymphatic system does, see What is Lymphoedema?
We all know the benefits of regular activity. Exercise is also a key component of both lymphoedema management and risk reduction in those with a predisposition. We all see patients who would benefit from being more active and by doing taking more control of their lymphoedema but there are many barriers and challenges in achieving more active lifestyles. The British Lymphology Society’s EveryBodyCan Campaign for 2020 has set out to support health care professionals in addressing many of the challenges, fostering positive attitudes and providing resources and guidance to enable patients to be more active.
- The first step is to use the term ‘activity’, rather than exercise wherever possible as exercise is a ‘turn-off’ for many.
- Key message 1 is simply the importance of activity in maintaining a health lymphatic system and reducing lymphatic swelling. Being able to explain and provide information that enables understanding of why activity is so important is vital.
- Key message 2 is that whatever the co-morbidities or limitations an individual has, there are options for them, even if chair-bound. It doesn’t need to be vigorous activity to get the lymphatics working. Everybody can do ‘something’! We will be developing guidance, tips and resources on activity generally and on specific types of activity and also highlighting other resources to support people.
- Key message 3 is that almost any activity is safe, provided some simple principles are followed. We have a brand new Lymph Fact Sheet (LFS) on Activity and Exercise which highlights key research on the safety and benefits of activity.
Collaborating with other organisations is opening up other avenues of support and resources. For example, Community Leisure Scotland have non-profit-making member Clubs across the country. They are keen to offer schemes to make it easier for people with lymphoedema to access clubs and to ensure their Fitness Trainers have the appropriate knowledge to support and guide patients.
Working with key partner organisations, such as QNIS increases the potential to disseminate information on lymphoedema and the relevance of activity to a really wide audience. We would be very grateful for the support of community nurses in Scotland in sharing information and promoting the key messages.
EveryBodyCan and Lymphoedema Awareness Week
The EveryBodyCan Campaign focuses of activity, but it is part of wider awareness raising about lymphoedema. The campaign will be a key part of Lymphoedema Awareness Week (2-8th March) but it provides opportunities to raise awareness all year round.
You can support the campaign in the following ways:
- Check information on the EveryBodyCan campaign and Lymphoedema Awareness Week at www.thebls.com.
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BritishLymph and spread the word by tagging posts and retweets with #EveryBodyCan and #Lymphoedema and by sharing or liking posts. Add in the handle of key organisations that may be of relevance for wider reach.
- Sign on as a Friend of BLS to gain free access a selection of resources and get regular updates at https://www.thebls.com/membership
- Put up posters about the campaign at your workplace, take them to meetings and events.
- Download a variety of useful Lymph Fact Sheets and resources and share with colleagues.
- Have fun by taking the Sock-it Challenge and challenging others to take it – take a photo wearing odd socks, reflecting that lymphoedema is a condition that causes swelling and usually necessitates wearing ‘odd-looking’ compression garments. See the new posters and images plus a patient story you can use.
Whatever you do during the campaign have fun!