Speech and language therapy concerns managing disorders of speech, language, communication, voice and swallowing.
Benefits of speech and language therapy at Bupa Cromwell Hospital
Our speech and language therapists work independently and as members of multidisciplinary teams working with patients who may be undergoing treatment for a wide range of conditions, including:
- ear nose and throat treatment including surgery
- neurological conditions including, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, head injury and neurosurgery
- recovery from intensive care and invasive surgery such as liver or gastro surgery
- the need for temporary or permanent breathing support involving use of a tracheotomy tube.
We assess, treat and manage a range of disorders resulting from these conditions such as: Loss of voice or hoarse voice
resulting from voice misuse, muscle tension, acid reflux, vocal cord nodules, oedema or swelling, and neurological conditions such as vocal cord paralysis. Swallowing problems
arising from stroke and neurological disorders, head and neck and oesophageal cancer, anatomical disorders such as a pouch in the pharynx, and ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders, psychological and anxiety-related problems, post serious illness, and surgery.
Swallowing difficulties which affect eating and/or drinking, may cause someone to experience one or more of the following issues:
- problems chewing food
- food getting stuck in the throat or mouth
- a feeling of food, drink, or saliva going down ‘the wrong way’, which may make someone cough or clear their throat
- chest infections.
Our speech and language therapists work closely with the other members of the multi-disciplinary team to ensure that eating and drinking is as safe as possible, and encourage adequate nutrition and hydration. To help someone achieve this, we may teach exercises to improve the swallowing mechanism, advise modifications to diet or encourage them to use strategies to maximise safety.
We offer a specialist videofluoroscopic investigation of swallowing as appropriate. This is a joint investigation carried out by the radiology department. It is a ‘moving X-ray’ showing how a patient is able to swallow different consistencies of food and drink.
Communication difficulties can present in a variety of ways including expressive problems involving speech and writing, such as muscle weakness or incoordination, and language-based difficulties including word-finding problems.
There may also be difficulties in understanding the spoken and written word.
Speech and language therapists are also involved with assessing and advising patients regarding use of appropriate communication aids, including amplifiers, electronic communication systems and communication charts.
What does speech and language therapy involve?
We give each patient an in-depth and comprehensive assessment of their condition. As part of this we discuss the findings of any tests and examinations with the patient and agree whether further treatment is appropriate.
If the patient wishes to undertake therapy, one-to-one sessions take place with a qualified and experienced speech and language therapist. These sessions are complemented by a tailored programme of therapy / exercises for the patient to practice at home.
The length of treatment varies according to each patient’s needs. The speech and language therapist will discuss the likely length of the treatment programme at the first session.
Access to treatment
In-patients are seen in agreement with their consultant and can undertake either intensive therapy or be monitored as part of their ongoing treatment.
Out-patients with voice problems need to be seen by an ENT specialist before their first appointment with a speech and language therapist.
All other out-patients can access services directly, or be referred by their GP.