Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and Language TherapySpeech and Language Therapy is responsible for the assessment and management of difficulties with communication and swallowing.

Speech and language therapists (SLTs) work closely with other team members, including the Compass augmentative and alternative communication team, to ensure the best outcomes for patients.


SLTs work on communication, helps patients and carers communicate as well as they can.


SLTs help with safe eating and drinking if a person has problems swallowing. This may involve changing the consistency of what is eaten or by providing exercises or strategies to help.

For some patients eating and drinking is not possible and SLTs work on helping them swallow their saliva as easily as possible, which may also help with tracheostomy weaning.

All patients have access to specialist instrumental swallow assessments to help guide their management.

Brain Injury Service

All patients receive an assessment from SLT on admission and receive input tailored to their individual needs throughout their stay.

Specialist Nursing Home and Specialist Services

Speech and Language Therapy operates a referral service in the Specialist Nursing Home. Ward staff and family members can refer a patient who needs speech and language intervention. SLTs review communication and swallow on an annual basis.

In Specialist Services, Speech and Language Therapy provides a combination of rehabilitation and annual reviews according to the patient’s package of care and reason for referral. They regularly assist with future planning, for example assisting with decisions relating to future feeding.

Guidelines for SLTs working with adults in a Disorder of Consciousness

Download the guidelines for SLTs here.

These guidelines and associated competency framework are designed to be used by SLTs working with adults in a DOC due to a sudden onset injury, at any point in the care pathway from critical care to community long-term care.

They have been created to support the practice of SLTs working with this specialist and complex patient population. Evidence for working with adults in DOC comes from a range of sources, but there is often a lack of research specific to SLT intervention.

Roberts and Greenwood (2019) carried out a survey of experienced SLTs using the Delphi technique in order to determine a consensus opinion on SLT best practice with this patient group. The findings from this study were used as the basis for these guidelines, which are the result of a piece of collaborative work involving specialist SLTs, working with adults in DOC across the UK. They were written by a working party of experienced SLTs employed in a range of settings.