Relationship between self-care continuation and self-efficacy in patients with secondary lower extremity lymphedema: A questionnaire survey

Risa Fukuda, Chiharu Akazawa, Chitose Arakawa


Objective: Complex physical therapy (CPT) has recently become the therapeutic focus for managing secondary lymphedema. Although it is advisable to perform CPT every day, only a few of our patients with lymphedema currently maintain this regimen. The aims of our study were to (1) assess the self-care practices that were employed by our patients with secondary lower extremity lymphedema, and to (2) determine the relationship between self-care continuation and self-efficacy in these patients.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at Kyoto University Hospital’s Consultation Room for Women’s Mental and Physical Health, and evaluated patients with secondary lower extremity lymphedema. A total of 118 patients were invited to anonymously complete a self-administered questionnaire regarding their demographic information, current self-care habits for manual lymphatic drainage and compression therapy, and self-efficacy rating. We used this data to compile descriptive statistics and compare the differences in the respondents self-efficacy scale scores, according to their continuation of self-care status.

Results: Approximately 64% of the invited patients returned the questionnaires, and 30% of these patients reported not continuing self-care, mainly because of the “cumbersome” and “time-consuming” procedures and the belief that self-care “did not result in much improvement”. There was no significant difference in the self-efficacy scale scores between the groups that did or did not continue self-care, although the scores tended to be higher in the groups that continued self-care.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that patients with lymphedema should be educated regarding the benefits of self-care, as a large percentage of these patients ultimately discontinued self-care. Therefore, these patients should be informed that only minor apparent changes in lymphedema state are expected, in order to better understand the effects of daily self-care.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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