Purpose: Chronic lymphedema following breast cancer (BC) affects individuals physically, functionally, psychologically, and financially. Despite national guidelines and evidence-based research supporting a prospective surveillance and early intervention model of care (PSM), bridging the gap between research and clinical practice has been difficult. Method: As part of an international randomized controlled trial (RCT), Australian women with BC from four hospitals were recruited, monitored for lymphedema at regular intervals over a 3-year period, and were provided a compression garment if intervention was triggered. The reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation and maintenance (RE-AIM) evaluation framework was used retrospectively to assess a PSM at the individual and organizational level for those who had completed at least 2-year follow-up (N = 219) in the RCT. Results: The application of the RE-AIM framework retrospectively demonstrated an extensive reach to patients across public and private settings; the effectiveness of prospective surveillance and early intervention was achieved through low progression rates to clinical lymphedema (1.8%), and all hospital sites initially approached adopted the research study. Key implementation strategies necessary for effectiveness of this model of care included education to health professionals and patients, staff acceptability, and development of a referral and care pathway. Maintenance dimensions were evaluated both at the individual level with 92–100% adherence rates for all nonoptional study appointments over the 2-year period, and at the organizational-level, PSM was sustained after recruitment ceased for the research study. Conclusion: The PSM for lymphedema in BC can be successfully implemented using the RE-AIM framework applied retrospectively. The implementation of the PSM used in the RCT has assisted in changing clinical practices and improving the quality and effectiveness of the health care system.
- Bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS)
- Prospective surveillance model (PSM)
- RE-AIM framework