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Lymphedema and lipo-lymphedema – the medical supply retailer Careful measurement is half the battle

Issue 03/2019

Measuring flat knit care products to ensure a perfect fit is a job for experts. To make sure that patients will actually wear the compression stockings, comprehensive consultation with medical retailers is necessary.

Measuring point A: marking the skin folds
on the little toe.

Yonca Acici regularly measures her customer for new upper thigh care products. “For lymphological treatment , measurements are taken under compression in addition to skin measurements. This ensures that the compression textiles really preserve the results achieved during the decongestion phase. Over time, you get a very good sense of what the tissue will allow, how firmly and where you need to compress,” says Yonca Acici, who primarily works at the branch office of MCS Medical Center Südwestfalen GmbH & Co. KG located in the center of Iserlohn. The medical retailer currently employs approximately 240 professionals at twelve retail locations in South Westphalia, Germany. Ten specially trained employees are dedicated to compression stocking treatment for lipedema and lymphedema patients. Among them are Yonca Acici for in-house service and Jennifer Sudhaus for field sales.

 

Measuring with lymphological compression.

For good treatment ,
everything needs to be just right

“Many patients already have a prescription when they first contact us,” says Yonca Acici. “Usually the prescription just says ‘flat-knitted compression stockings’.” But to provide the health insurance companies with a cost estimate, the medical supply retailer needs additional information such as the siliconized edge, whether the toe should be open or closed, whether slanted edging is preferred or if a leg elevation is required. “Some of these details can only be clarified by employees of the medical supply retailer, so it’s not uncommon that we need to request a new prescription.” During their first visit , Yonca Acici likes to measure the patients with Bodytronic 600. “That provides a good foundation for the cost estimate and is very practical for length measurements,” she says. “For the actual flat-knitted stockings, we measure the required circumference and other important details by hand later on. That includes things like internal and external foot length, which are relevant for treatment.” Patients who receive manual lymph drainage should ideally be measured immediately after treatment. This is why MCS field sales employee Jennifer Sudhaus often travels not only to clinics and home visits, but also to physical therapy offices in order to measure patients immediately after lymph drainage. “Collaboration with physiotherapists works very well ,” she says with satisfaction.

Length measurements are taken in a perpendicular line with the patient standing up. The patient stands with their feet hip-width apart.

Starting off right

When patients receive flat knit care for the first time, employees at the Medical Center Südwestfalen need to explain lots of details: “Many customers are daunted at first because flat knit stockings are, of course, a bit thicker and firmer than what they are accustomed to. In that case, it’s important to provide plenty of clarification. For instance: why a circular knit product is no longer suitable given their indications, why they need to wear the stockings every day, the best way to put them on and how to care for their stockings,” says Jennifer Sudhaus. “First we need to gain the trust of our patients. Once that has been established, we are generally able to find a satisfactory solution for care.”
Due to its soft , comfortable material , Jennifer Sudhaus and her colleague like to recommend VenoTrain curaflow to patients receiving first-time prescriptions for flat knit care, as well as for long-term treatment. “The feedback we always receive is that patients feel comfortable wearing them and, above all , that they can move around easily. They are able to sit down comfortably or bend over without anything slipping. Or they tell us it is easy to play sports while wearing them because their legs don’t rub together or get weak and tired so quickly,” reports Jennifer Sudhaus.

“It is important for me that manufacturers also pay attention to whether the order they receive
makes sense and is complete.”
(Jennifer Sudhaus)

She also thinks it’s fantastic that flat knit care products are available in more colors now. “I have lots of young customers who absolutely want color. This trend is reinforced by the fact that more edema patients now have an active, fashion-conscious and self-confident presence on social media.”

Jennifer Sudhaus works in field sales for the MSC Medical Center Südwestfalen.

Double monitoring is better

Whether with new customers or established customers, the lymph consultants tirelessly explain the effect of the stockings, proper textile and skin care, the benefits of movement while wearing compression and lots more. “We also ask our first-time customers to contact us two weeks after they receive their stockings if the stockings don’t fit perfectly yet. Or, ideally, to begin the ordering process for a replacement pair”, says Yonca Acici.
For the sake of their patients, the lymph consultants aim for a quick and successful exchange with the manufacturer – from the order process to complaint handling. “It is important for me that manufacturers are also paying attention to whether the order they receive makes sense and is complete. With Bauerfeind, this works well. For instance, if I didn’t check off a siliconized edge, or if I indicated an open toe in my last stocking order and now request a closed toe, the employees handling the order at Bauerfeind will check to make sure they should actually be knit that way,” Yonca Acici explains. “Ultimately, good treatment of lipedema and lymphedema is just a matter of teamwork.” 

 

Trainings

You can find English training films about taking measurements for VenoTrain curaflow at
video.bauerfeind.com

Images: Michael Bause


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