Randi Dellova provides Bacharach physical therapy and lymphedema services in the home in southern Ocean County.
Lymphedema is a chronic disorder that causes a build-up of lymphatic fluid just under the skin, which can cause pain and swelling. It commonly occurs in people who have had cancer, radiation therapy, lymph node removal or a mastectomy.
Randi Dellova, a physical therapist at Bacharach who specializes in lymphedema therapy in the home care setting, first heard about the disease when her mother was diagnosed after she had breast cancer.
“Over three years ago I went to a class on how to treat lymphedema because I saw what my mom was going through,” said Randi. “The class taught me complete decongested therapy (CDT), which includes skin care, manual lymph drainage, compression bandaging and fitting for compression garments to treat lymphedema.”
In addition to using CDT to treat her patients, Randi teaches her patients different exercises to help reduce the symptoms. She also advises them to avoid the sun and overheating, and watch their sodium intake, which can exacerbate their lymphedema.
“Many of my patients are home-bound because of the swelling and are so grateful to be receiving home therapy,” said Randi. “A huge goal for most of them is being able to leave their homes and I want to make them as independent as I can. I usually see a patient for six weeks, but it could be shorter or longer depending on the severity of their lymphedema. A key component of their therapy is learning how to manage their lymphedema on their own—I teach them skin care, how to wear compression garments and more.”
If left untreated lymphedema will continue to get worse and can affect a person’s daily activities, including making it difficult to walk, shower and get dressed because the swelling makes their limbs so heavy.
“Physical therapists are on the frontlines when it comes to treating lymphedema,” said Randi. “Unfortunately, there are not many therapists certified to treat it and even less who offer home therapy. I have seen the effect you have on a person’s life with this treatment and I encourage all therapists to get certified.”