What you need to know when choosing CDT


The decision to enroll in a CDT program is one that must be based on commitment to work towards a "new normal".

As there is no cure for lymphedema, patients and families alike must come to an understanding of the two phases of CDT as a lifestyle intervention. CDT is a means of reducing the size of a lymphedemitous limb and maintaining its smaller size with compression as a "new normal". It is essential to understand that adherence in the maintenance phase of CDT has correlated directly to patient education prior to and during the intensive phase. Additionally, adequate psychosocial support from friends and family members is imperative for a successful outcome.

With this, we know that the road to the "new normal" is marked with several milestones. Identification of a best-fit treatment center is essential. Patients are encouraged to investigate the experience of planned treatment providers in addition to appropriate board certification and licensing. Care facilities must be equipped to manage larger patients in a protective environment. Coordination of travel and lodging is only one of the many details that require attention as a patient elects to travel for specialized care that may not be available to them locally. Traveling companions must be secured. "Home care-assistors" must be selected and arrangements made for them to be available for education and training at a selected treatment center.

It is imperative for patients and families alike to understand time and financial requirements for CDT to include time away from work, travel, remote housing and funds for compression bandages and garments that will have to be replaced on average, every six months. Patients are advised never to start a CDT program until these aspects of care have been defined up-front. Nothing is more devastating to a patient than to achieve remarkable limb decompression and not be able to maintain it as they do not have funding for bandaging or garments in the long-term.

The National Institute of Lymphology is committed to indentifying qualified Centers of Excellence in Lymphedema Care that display a commitment to the highest level of coordinated medical care to date with attention to cost containment. This includes developing strategies to coordinate support for FMLA applications and evaluations for short-term disability so patients may receive lymphedema care during a protected time frame. Further, our centers coordinate with local hotels and facilities nationwide that offer reduced or cost-free stays for ongoing cancer care patients. Most of all, we are always inspired by our patients who conceive novel fund raising approaches as bake sales, car washes, church sponsored dinners, raffles and the like to secure funds for bandages but also to rally community support and awareness of the cost of lymphedema care that often is not covered by many insurance companies.