Overcoming the challenge of finding the right diagnosis, helping you reclaim the life you want to lead
Although it is common for cancer patients to develop lymphedema, it often goes undiagnosed, putting patients at risk for tissue damage and infections like cellulitis. Heavy-feeling limbs and limited range of motion can appear right after surgery or radiation, or begin decades later. Patients don't always make a connection between new swelling and their treatment for cancer years before. Lymphedema can also be mistaken for other conditions such as congestive heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, chronic venous insufficiency, lipedema, or a recurrence of cancer. Education is the key to diagnosing and controlling lymphedema in its earliest stage.
Our oncology rehabilitation program coordinates with each patient's physician team to provide restorative services to patients with active cancer; receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment; post surgery; or in remission. Our dedicated program allows for exercise in an environment conducive to cancer patients and, at times, side-by-side with other survivors.
Virginia Moratz, OTR, CHT, CLT
Administrator and Clinical Director
Virginia Moratz, OTR, CHT, CLT
Administrator and Clinical Director of the Greater Baltimore Center for Rehabilitation Medicine - Virginia Moratz holds a degree in psychology and is a 1971 occupational therapy graduate of Boston University. She is a renowned therapist of 42 years experience, leader, innovator and educator. She has been a board-certified hand therapist since 1991 and has pioneered in areas such as functional fracture bracing, ergonomics, music medicine, post polio and spinal cord injured. She was trained in lymphedema management at Klose-Norton Training and Consulting in 1998 and has focused a program that addresses lymphedema for patients for reasons of trauma, cancer and obesity. She has a particular interest in moving forward with a GBMC program for children with primary lymphedema. Early in her career, she received the Recognition of Excellence Award, the highest honor awarded from the Maryland Occupational Therapy Association. Her vision is to create and provide comprehensive programs of excellence and innovation in the delivery of care and to model a collaborative, compassionate and accountable service. With this intent, multiple new rehabilitation programs and talented medical, therapy and office staff have been added to the Center. She is also committed to promote opportunities to engage all members of GBMC, recognizing every colleague's contribution and securing a rewarding work environment to retain a top notch team.
- Eight private treatment rooms, a gym, and an education area
- Therapists to monitor exercise regimens in coordination with the types of chemotherapy patients received to maximize safety and success
- Ideal environment for patients to regain strength and stamina during or after cancer treatment
- Elite Occupational and Physical Therapy - Both Occupational Therapists (OT) and Physical Therapists (PT) are certified in lymphedema treatment, having completed over 135 hours of specialized education
- Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Services - providing comprehensive rehabilitation for neurologic, orthopedic, spine, and hand injury diagnoses
- Bariatric Exercise Services - Learn effective exercise routine without stress of back, hips or knees
- Hand Therapy Services - A certified hand therapist with 40 years of experience provides services for issues of trauma or arthritis, coordinated with the referring physician
Renewed Hope: Getting a second chance
"I was deathly ill with swelling, open wounds and morbid obesity. My legs were filled with lymphatic fluid. Mobility was painful, nearly impossible. I felt hopeless.”Read Rose's Story
Your First Appointment
Please contact us regarding any necessary cancellation of appointments greater than 24 hours before appointment time. To ensure your first appointment goes as smoothly as possible, please be sure to have the items below available upon your arrival:
- Medical record reports pertaining to your condition
- All medications you are currently taking in their original containers, including aspirin, vitamins and herbal supplements
- If you have had previous care for lymphedema, wear or bring any/all garments you use(d)
- A list of allergies to medications, foods or latex
- An adequate supply of oxygen if you require oxygen - the Center does not have oxygen available for routine patient use
- Insurance cards and forms, any prescription or referral for services
- The name, address and telephone number of the physicians you would like to receive reports
- A copy of your Advanced Directive if you have one
- You may be with us approximately 1 1/2 hours
Hand therapy at GBMC is provided by certified hand therapist (CHT), Virginia Moratz, OTR, CHT, CLT, who has 40 years of experience in the field. Hand therapy is a specialty that can include treating hand diagnoses in trauma, such as fractures and sprains and complications like regional pain syndrome. It can address repetitive stress like tennis elbow, trigger finger, or skier's thumb. Hand therapy is also appropriate for carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet and rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. Our services include:
- Manual techniques
- Range of motion and strengthening
- Modalities as ultrasound
- Postoperative protocols
- Custom splinting and fracture bracing
The Oncology Rehabilitation Program was launched in late 2008 to provide expert outpatient rehabilitation to cancer patients enduring the adverse effects of treatment. With a mission to restore and improve the cancer patient’s quality of life, the Oncology Rehabilitation Program has the advantage of private treatment rooms and a rehabilitation gym where patients can work on improving therapist supervised strength and stamina as well as address function, activities of daily living and ergonomics. Care is coordinated with the patient’s cancer care team and can be in conjunction with speech or swallowing therapy at the Dance Center. Oncology rehabilitation can begin before, during and after the cancer treatments regimen to assist with issues of fatigue, weakness, mobility, success at everyday activities important to the patient.Specialized services provided by physical, occupational and speech therapists, help oncology patients with:
- Mobility, flexibility and strength
- Scar adhesions and restrictions
- Depleted functional capacity and energy conservation issues
- Sensory loss, neuropathy related pain
- Compromised activities of daily living in the home and in the community, including work ergonomic issues
- Adaptive devices, equipment, braces and splints
- Safety, balance and coordination
- Seating problems
- Swallowing and speech
- The program will include weigh-ins.
- The intention will be to complement goals set up by physicians at GBMC with specialties in bariatrics.
- Emphasis will be placed on teaching the patient to transition to regular exercise at home or health club and to make exercise part of a routine and rewarding.
- Any activity of daily living issues for self-care, work or community will also be addressed.
- Patients with associated lymphedema may be additionally eligible for the comprehensive Lymphedema Management Program.
- Sprains and strains
- Back and neck pain
- Hand injury or nerve compressions
- Cumulative trauma (repetitive stress)
- Scar adhesions
- Neuromuscular disorders (as stroke and Parkinson's)
- Speech and Swallowing Disfunction