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lymphedema, quality of life, assessment/evaluation tool, intervention, Certified Lymphedema Therapist/CLT


Occupational Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy


Lymphedema affects the lymphatic system's ability to drain lymph, resulting in fluid retention in the extremities. This condition greatly affects daily function, leading to decreased quality of life (QOL). Certified lymphedema therapists (CLTs) have the knowledge to address QOL with a variety of methods; however, there is no standardized protocol to evaluate or address QOL issues. The purpose of this study was to investigate how occupational therapists (OTs) who were CLTs assessed and addressed QOL issues for clients with lymphedema. Utilizing a cross-sectional survey design, occupational therapists who were CLTs in United States responded to a questionnaire inquiring about the extent to which they administered various QOL assessments and interventions to address QOL issues with clients with lymphedema, as well as their perception of the importance of addressing QOL issues for these clients. Data were analyzed to determine the extent to which OTs used QOL assessments and interventions and which they used most frequently. Findings indicate that OTs did not typically administer QOL assessments to a statistically significant extent, t(14) = -20.75, p = .00. Data shows that the Lymphedema Life Impact, Short Form-36, and "other" were the most frequently used QOL assessments. The OTs in this study also tended to administer occupation-based interventions for clients with lymphedema to a large extent, t(22) = 6.04, p = 0.00. All but two participants reported that it is important or very important to address QOL in clients with lymphedema, D(24) = .519, p = .00. Further research is indicated to determine if the trends found in this study are widespread and to explore the reason why OTs do not administer QOL assessments and interventions for clients with lymphedema.

First Advisor

Mackenzie Feldhacker

Research Area

Occupational Therapy