Cancer Rehab Occupational Therapist

Q & A with Kate Perkins- Cancer Rehab Occupational Therapist (OT) and Lymphoedema Therapist

Did you know that Cancer Rehabilitation & Lymphatic Solutions clinic in Erina are the only Private clinic on the Central Coast that solely focuses on providing cancer rehabilitation and lymphoedema expert services!

Led by Cancer Rehab Occupational Therapist (OT) and Lymphoedema Therapist and passionate trail blazer in the industry, Kate Perkins, the clinic is helping more patients across the Central Coast to recover faster, stronger, and full of energy.

Below we interview the Founder and owner Kate Perkins and gain valuable insights on how she effectively treats her patients and what revolutionary technology, equipment and approaches she and her team are utilising to gain such amazing results and why more patients, and their doctors are choosing Cancer Rehabilitation and Lymphatic Solutions and Coastal Rehab Hub as their preferred provider.

 

Q & A with Kate Perkins- Cancer Rehab Occupational Therapist (OT) and Lymphoedema Therapist

 

What made you go into the area of cancer rehab and Lymphoedema?
First of all, I wanted to do something meaningful in my career as an Occupational Therapist that also combined my skills I have developed over the years as a remedial massage therapist and elite athlete. After I finished my degree in OT, I extended my study in Lymphoedema Therapy at Macquarie University in the ALERT program under the tutelage of Dr Louise Koelmeyer. An area of specialised practice that piqued my interest was the early monitoring for breast cancer related lymphoedema (BCRL), using bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) technology with the SOZO unit by Impedimed. Reducing the risk of men/women developing a potentially life-long chronic condition following cancer treatment appealed to me the most, as prevention is better than cure.

This area of practice evolved for me in the form of more study, knowledge and skill building to encompass all aspects of cancer rehabilitation. I also assess, treat, and manage other lymphoedema related presentations.


What services are you offering for cancer patients on the Coast?
Basically I treat the side effects of cancer treatment using state of the art technology using the OncoLaser ™ techniques I have developed based on clinical evidence using MLS Laser, including accelerated tissue healing post-surgery, reducing symptoms of radiation scar tissue Laser Therapy reduces symptoms of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) which is numbness/burning/tingling in hands and feet as a result of chemotherapy, reducing breast and limb lymphoedema symptoms, and softening muscle tissue.

We also provide patient education regarding cancer related fatigue, pacing, development of tailored graduated exercise rehabilitation programs with Conveniently Active’s founder and accredited exercise physiologist, Rhiannon Walton, who is also based in our Coastal Rehab Hub clinic.

We work closely with Dietitian, Nicole Saliba, founder of Eat Sense, to address individual needs throughout cancer treatment.

 

What are the benefits of seeing a Cancer Rehab Occupational Therapist (OT) and Lymphoedema Therapist?
As a cancer rehab and lymphoedema OT, I understand the side effects of cancer related treatments and how to minimise and manage those side effects, which leads to better recovery outcomes faster. I see people, referred by oncology specialists, at the time of diagnosis and prior to people commencing their cancer related treatments. At these times, I am able to provide education on what to expect during their treatments and what cancer rehabilitation means, as well as completing baseline lymphoedema index measurements. I find that people are far more prepared for what is ahead, and I am that extra level of support throughout their cancer treatments. We also understand the benefits of exercise and movement during cancer treatment for better recovery outcomes, so are able to develop tailored individual graduated programs.

 

What is Lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema is caused by a back up of protein rich lymph fluid in a limb/torso/head/neck causing swelling due to damage to or blockage of the lymphatic system. There area two types of lymphoedema: Primary/Primary Lymphoedema Tada related to congenital malformation of the body’s lymphatics reducing. The other is Secondary Lymphoedema which develops due to trauma, surgery, removal of multiple lymph nodes, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy where the lymphatics are compromised reducing the transport capacity of lymph fluid throughout the body. There are four stages of lymphoedema:

  • Clinical Stage – early development signs/symptoms are not obvious but can be detected using BIS technology, the SOZO.
  • Early Stage I
  • Stage II
  • Stage III
  • Stage IV

 

How can Lymphoedema be treated/managed?
Early intervention reduces the likelihood of lymphoedema symptoms becoming a lifelong chronic condition. Symptoms can be managed by wearing a compression garment prescribed by a qualified Lymphoedema Therapist, Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) massage, and exercise as the lymphatic system relies on the muscle pump movement of the body to transport lymph fluid to be processed in the body.

 

Why are more patients choosing to visit your clinic?
We are the only Private clinic on the Central Coast that solely focuses on providing cancer rehabilitation and lymphoedema expert services. Clinical decisions are based on current clinical evidence, extensive knowledge, and experience in this area of practice. Our clinic prides itself in delivering professional services with compassion and use state of the art technology to achieve outstanding results.

 

What’s the best part of your job?
Witnessing how we change people’s lives by reducing the adverse effects of cancer related treatments and managing potential lifelong chronic conditions. I have created a warm, welcoming environment for my staff and patients, and I love going to work every day.

 

Do your patients need a referral?
Essentially no, patients do not need a referral. I do receive referrals from GPs, surgeons, and oncology specialists. Patients can request a referral for a GP Management Plan, otherwise known as a Chronic Disease Management Plan, under Occupational Therapy, to receive a $56 Medicare rebate per visit for 5 visits.

 

Are your services covered under healthcare funds?
Yes, we are covered under healthcare funds. Patients will need to confirm with their providers if they have cover..

 

Want to start your treatment journey with us?

If you are a patient or a healthcare referrer who would like to find out more or book an appointment with the caring team at Cancer Rehabilitation & Lymphatic Solutions part of the Coastal Rehab Hub, then please contact our friendly and supportive team today.

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