Lauren Brown, a certified lymphedema therapist, opened the Longs Peak Hospital Foundation (LPH) lymphedema clinic in May 2019. Lymphedema is a sometimes debilitating swelling that can occur in the limbs, chest wall, abdomen and pubic area and is most commonly caused by damage to lymph nodes as part of cancer treatment. Although there is no cure for lymphedema, the specialized therapy available at a lymphedema clinic can help alleviate its symptoms.
Lauren received a scholarship in 2018 from the foundation to pursue certification in lymphedema therapy. She was awarded a second scholarship in 2019 to pursue national certification in lymphedema therapy and undertake further training in specialty treatment areas for lymphedema, such as head and neck lymphedema and alternative treatment approaches. In January of this year, Lauren earned Lymphology Association of North America national certification.
“Because of the foundation and the support of Longs Peak Hospital,” she says, “I earned my certification as a lymphedema therapist in September 2018 and opened an outpatient lymphedema clinic at Longs Peak Hospital in May 2019. This clinic enables us to provide close-to-home lymphedema therapy for our Longmont-area patients, so they don’t have to drive to Denver or Fort Collins.”
Since its May 2019 opening, the clinic has served 42 patients and completed over 200 treatment sessions.
The spirit of philanthropy that helped start the clinic through an employee scholarship endures. Recently, through funds made available by our donors’ generosity, purchases were made to help the clinic continue to bring patients the highest level of care. First, a table that makes lymphedema therapy easier to perform and more comfortable for patients was acquired. Next, dollars from the foundation’s Patient Assistance Fund were used to purchase compression sleeves for low-income patients.
Compression sleeves are often worn as part of an overall lymphedema treatment plan. Insurance plans don’t usually cover the cost of the sleeves, putting them out of reach for some patients. Long-term compression sleeve use is critical for successful lymphedema management. Without medical-grade compression sleeves, lymphedema continues to worsen. The affected area becomes more swollen, the skin changes, and risk for infection increases.
This story is a vivid example of the power of philanthropy. Whether for something that seems simple—like a compression sleeve—or for something complex—like a rehabilitation clinic—generosity paves the way to ease pain and discomfort and improve lives.