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ERCC Occupational Therapist receives certification

Submitted Photo Elkins Rehabilitation & Care Center occupational therapist Lindsay Zirkle, right, wraps a resident’s arm as a method of lymphedema treatment.

ELKINS — Elkins Rehabilitation & Care Center occupational therapist and rehab clinical manager Lindsay Zirkle recently obtained her certification in lymphedema treatment becoming the only certified lymphedema therapist in the area.

Lymphedema is the accumulation of fluid caused by damage to the lymphatic system. This damage is generally caused by cancer radiation, surgery or injury.

“This kind of treatment is really important to speeding up the healing process and preventing infections,” Zirkle said. “It can really improve the quality of life for our residents and visiting patients.”

Treatment for the condition can range from exercise and skin care to compression therapy and manual lymph drainage. Manual lymph drainage is light skin-stretching massage that helps move the fluid in the affected limb or area.

Zirkle completed 135 hours of training to obtain the certification. During this process, students learn how to address issues caused by damage to the lymphatic system by rerouting the fluid to healthy parts of the body so it can be absorbed into the blood stream They also study ways to wrap areas of the body in order to promote healing and how specific exercises improve the body’s ability to pump the lymphatic fluid.

“Lindsay worked really hard to obtain this certification and we’re really proud of her,” said Tara Shaver, ERCC administrator. “Her work gives us another tool in the toolbox when it comes to offering therapies that really help members of our community.”

Shaver added she was very happy that ERCC could add certified lymphedema treatment to its list of therapies offered because it will help residents at the facility who are being treated for diseases such as cancer improve their quality of life.

Zirkle has worked at ERCC for the past seven years. She lives in Upshur County with her husband and two children. In her free time, she enjoys camping with the family.

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