Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sclinda Janssen

Second Advisor

Wanda Lauer


The chronic condition of lymphedema continues to be poorly recognized and managed by healthcare providers due to limited knowledge and education, which poses barriers for patients trying to manage from a personal, occupational, and environmental standpoint. The barriers experienced by patients include complex and time-consuming management approaches with little attention towards health literacy causing poor self-efficacy, lost independence in occupations, increased distress and frustration, isolation, and withdrawal (Boyages et al., 2016; Keast, Despatis, Allen, & Brassard, 2015; Ostby, Armer, Smith, & Stewart, 2018). The purpose of this product is to provide occupational therapy practitioners with educational strategies and materials to use with their patients to promote adherence with lymphedema self-management. The product’s aim is for practitioners to implement the strategies within patients’ natural occupations, environments, habits, and routines to promote adherence. A thorough literature review was completed on barriers to adherence of lymphedema management, current intervention approaches, programming types and formats, and the role of occupational therapy. Analyzing the literature revealed a strong need for occupation-based lymphedema education for practitioners to meet the needs of their patients to make adherence to self-management strategies possible. Concepts were used and applied from the person-environment-occupation model (Law et al., 1996) and andragogy teaching and learning theory (Bastable, Myers, & Arnaud, 2020) to develop the product. The literature review and theoretical frameworks guided the creation and design of the resource guide, which is developed for use by occupational therapy practitioners to provide patient education. The user-friendly, occupation-based materials and resources were developed to be implemented in patients’ daily occupations, environments, habits, and routines to promote adherence and normalize living with lymphedema. An OT’s Guide to Using Occupation to Promote Fluid Adherence to Lymphedema Self-Management is an educational resource guide for occupational therapy practitioners to use with their patients in a vast array of settings to promote adherence to self-management of lymphedema. The guide provides evidence-based, occupation-focused, and theory driven patient education and strategies integrated into established habits and routines to normalize living with lymphedema through less complex treatment approaches to improve occupational performance and promote adherence.