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Lymphodema Training 

Anita take the training of their customers very seriously and sponsor a host of training days, information sessions and extended visits to their head offices in Germany to make sure that their customers are completely familiar with the products that they are fitting and selling back in the UK. 

Jemma Barnes, Managing Director of Anita UK, has just returned from a highly specialised three day training course in Germany with a group of customers from Ireland and England along with two breast care nurses from the Lymphedema clinic in Kendal.

The training was geared towards a greater understanding of Lymphodema and how it affects women who have undergone breast surgery as well as the correct bra fitting protocols when helping a customer who has had a mastectomy to ensure that no further pressure is put on her lymphatic system.

Anita produce a large range of specialist bras and products for post-surgical customers and a particular range called LymphOfit is geared especially toward ladies that have had their lymphatic system compromised and have a particular need for care when choosing bras.  Some time was spent during the first morning looking at this collection and learning which product would work in which situation, familiarising the delegates with the lines they will be selling. 

Part of the trip included a visit to one of the leading clinics in the world for the Manual drainage technique, the Vodder Academy where the delegates enjoyed an informative discourse from two lymphedema specialists Ms Maria Wittlinger and Dr Markus Killinger. The schedule included sections on primary and secondary lymphedema along with slides to  illustrate the differences as well instruction on how to help customers with either condition. 

The delegates were particularly interested in the section that covered bra fitting after lymphedema (for more information look out for our upcoming blog on ‘The importance of the right bra following surgery) as the founders of the Vodder technique for manual lymph drainage report that the biggest cause of lymphodema's following breast surgery is bras that are fitted too tight.

Post surgery bras for women who have had lymph node removals should be non wired, have wide padded shoulder straps and a full and wide back panel and underarm panel. Restricting the flow of the lymph fluids will cause an excess to build up and the patient will have the condition for life as lympdodema can be treated to improve symptoms but not cured. Customers will often express a preference for a narrower strap or band and we would usually always want to work with their preferences but after breast surgery these styles are completely inappropriate for anyone susceptible to lymphedema. Training was give on the correct and incorrect fitting of a bra after breast surgery.

incorrect bra fitting

correct fitting

Commenting on the trip Jemma Barnes told us “Lymphedema is a lifelong condition that causes discomfort and sometimes debilitation for the sufferer, sadly it cannot be cured; it can only be managed and eased. 

So understanding  how to help prevent  the condition from occurring  by recommending the right garments  is of paramount importance along with a sound knowledge of what we can recommend from the Anita range  to help ease the condition and keep ladies comfortable. The aim of this training was to provide everyone with the knowledge necessary to enable them to give the best possible advice and help to keep lymphedema sufferers as comfortable as possible.”

One of the delegates, May Downey from Alma Care in Ireland added “‘Upskilling is essential in this business.  At their recent LymphOFit Seminar Anita afforded us the opportunity to learn from the very best, while sharing ideas with peers, and also to see best practice at work in the famous Vodder Clinic.  We also took in their very impressive logistics centre.  This all took place in beautiful surroundings where our wonderful hosts took great care of us.  We learned a lot.  A big thank you to Anita for arranging and hosting this event.’

After the sessions were complete the team enjoyed a visit to a local spa for some well earnt relaxation before dinner and sleep!