The Lymphoedema Network Northern Ireland (LNNI) wins national Award!

30 Jan 2017

LNNI won the British Lymphology Society‘s 2016 national award for raising awareness of lymphoedema with healthcare professionals.

Lymphoedema awareness is embedded in the LNNI work plan. Initially this involved the common referring groups, such as breast cancer, and has evolved as a result of referral analysis and feedback, to include those outside normal referring groups, and indeed health. 

Multi-professional undergraduate awareness: LNNI have a partnership with the Ulster University re awareness: Nursing, Physiotherapy, OT, Radiotherapy and Podiatry. Annually, all undergraduate groups participate in a half-day seminar (lectures/case discussion) which has been highly evaluated by students and university staff. This includes a patient video in which the discussion is patient-led. Awareness covers many potential referring areas and encourages students to consider lymphoedema when they are on student placements and when qualified.

Post graduate awareness:

LNNI has developed a series of information adjuncts which are linked to the LNNI website with the BLS link.

  • Leaflets are provided to the staff working with the “at risk” groups to support their awareness, alongside focused HCP clinical room posters. This provides an introduction for the teams to meet and further discuss lymphoedema. Positive impact has been assessed via pre/post session quizzes. 
  • A new education/quiz package has been developed for community social care learning.
  • A new leaflet has recently been designed in partnership with community care groups for adults with learning disability (staff and patients) in the “Easy Read” format, which has involved wide spread community awareness.

Specific multi-professional strategic areas have been targeted (using local data analysis) including:

  • cultural areas demonstrating fewer referrals per head of population e.g. The Chinese Welfare Association Health Lead
  • Public Health Agency developments including new GP Practice/Pharmacists briefing tools and lobbying re obesity issues
  • DVT teams
  • Cardiovascular teams (re by-pass grafts)
  • Neonatal Regional Network and paediatrics
  • EDs 
  • New head and neck cancer unit staff
  • Macmillan Practice Nurse Modules
  • specific regional conferences e.g. Vulvectomy, leadership and lipoedema
  • Cancer Health and Well-being events
  • specific group facilitation e.g. via mandatory training for all DNs/treatment room staff
  • regional specialist palliative care teams and creation of commissioning brief
  • various multi-professional post-grad modules and specific training days

GP awareness: The LNNI teams participate in GP education days and have links with each Trust Lead GP. The teams include the LSN module and LNNI web links in all primary care paperwork, and advertise the BLS cellulitis guidelines. The leads have worked with their Lead GPs to develop regional electronic referral tools which specify referral criteria and guidance thus increasing awareness and increased referral quality.

Strategic stakeholders: Strategic bodies have also been provided with briefing documents and presentations, and also in partnership with the Long term Conditions Alliance NI. Work with the Public Health Agency has led to an improvement in prescribing, greater awareness re need for good practice and potential use of available product codes. LNNI also works in partnership with the South of Ireland DOH Forum.