Challenges and opportunities identified for lymphoedema services in Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic

Br J Nurs. 2021 Feb 25;30(4):210-217. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2021.30.4.210.


BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, lymphoedema staff adapted services, providing care remotely, and worked in other NHS sectors. The impact on services and staff must be understood in order to safeguard patient care and foster workforce resilience.

AIMS: To evaluate the experiences of clinical and non-clinical lymphoedema staff in Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS: An anonymous online survey, based on scoping work, was sent out via the Welsh lymphoedema services mailing list.

FINDINGS: 71% (68/96) of eligible lymphoedema staff completed the survey. More than half supported lymphoedema services (40/68) with the remaining staff deployed elsewhere. Overall, staff and services felt prepared for new ways of working. Concerns about others and the future burden on services when life returned to normal were reported. Opportunities identified included education initiatives and virtual services.

CONCLUSION: Lymphoedema services were well prepared to deliver virtually, enable effective care and share knowledge. Co-ordinated efforts to uphold patient advocacy will support virtual services to meet their needs.

PMID:33641406 | DOI:10.12968/bjon.2021.30.4.210