Easy Read Information
This page has information about the work of our Speech and Language Therapy Team.
It includes information about our work with Stroke and other problems with your voice.
There is a contact number at the end.
Who we are
The speech and language therapy (SALT) team provide life-improving treatment, care and support to adults with communication and swallowing difficulties. These problems might occur for a number of reasons:
- head injury
- critical illness
- head and neck cancer
- learning disability
- degenerative neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease or multiple sclerosis
The speech and language therapy team
Our dedicated team of speech and language therapists work as part of the Therapies Directorate. We have completed university training to degree level or beyond. We are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and are members of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. We are committed to maintaining high professional standards and aim to offer a world-class service to our patients.
Collectively our team has many years of experience and we have a varied skill mix. We offer specialist knowledge and treatments to our patients. We recognise the value of ongoing education and pursue both personal and professional development. We are supported by speech and language therapy assistants.
What we do
The speech and language therapy team work across both the Royal Liverpool University and Broadgreen Hospital sites providing a service to the following areas:
Following an initial assessment, we review each patient as regularly as necessary based on the patient’s condition and complaint. We work closely with our medical, nursing and therapy colleagues to ensure that the care we provide is collaborative and person centered.
Critical care is the term now used to include “intensive care” and “high dependency” units. For some patients, recovery after a critical illness is the start of an uncertain journey to recovery. We provide specialist knowledge and skills in the assessment and management of communication and swallowing difficulties following a critical illness.
Such difficulties can arise as a result of the patient’s underlying medical condition or be secondary to the technologies used to prolong and support life. We are one of a limited number of speech and language therapy teams who are funded to work in this area and have specialist skills and equipment to optimise patient care.
Our stroke services are split into three main areas:
- The Acute Stroke Unit (ASU) at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital is where people are admitted to hospital following a stroke. Our team will assess these patients and try to support any difficulties they have with eating, drinking or communicating.
- The Stroke Rehabilitation Unit (SRU) at Broadgreen Hospital is for patients who require ongoing rehabilitation in an inpatient setting.
- The Early Supported Discharge (ESD) team provides an outpatient and home-visiting service for people who have had a stroke and continue to have therapy goals after leaving hospital.
We are part of the specialist team that provide therapy and support to patients undergoing inpatient neurological rehabilitation on Phoenix Ward at Broadgreen Hospital.
Our highly skilled speech and language therapists (also known as voice therapists) provide an outpatient service to those people experiencing difficulties with their voice.
We accept referrals from Ear Nose and Throat consultant, and see a wide variety of people with voice problems, including those who use their voice professionally such as teachers, performers and call-centre workers. There are many reasons why somebody may experience difficulties with their voice, such as medical conditions, misuse, stress and acid reflux.
Being referred to us
Inpatients are referred to us by a member of the medical, nursing or therapy teams via an electronic referral system. If you have concerns about your communication or swallowing whilst an inpatient, please speak to your doctor or nurse who will liaise with us if appropriate.
People living in the community who have communication or swallowing problems can be referred to the Liverpool Community Speech and Language Therapy team. You can find their contact details at the end of this page.
For people who are experiencing voice difficulties that last over 3 weeks, their GP will refer to an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist, preferably within the Joint Voice Clinic setting, who will decide if voice therapy input is indicated. Patients are seen by Speech and Language Therapy in the outpatient setting following Ear, Nose and Throat referral.
What happens when you see us
What will happen during your appointment depends upon which service you are seeing, what treatment you are having and which illness or condition you present with. The team will discuss and agree with you what your individual treatment plan will be. Most appointments will include gathering information from you, assessing your current communication or swallowing difficulties, and planning treatment, as well as providing information, advice or training to your family, friends or carers.
Some patients may require an instrumental assessment of their swallowing. This will show exactly what happens in the mouth and throat during eating and drinking. We carry out the following instrumental assessments:
Also known as an X-ray of the swallow or a modified barium swallow (MBS), a videofluoroscopy (VF) uses X-ray technology to assess the safety and function of someone’s swallow. This allows your speech and language therapist to see what is happening inside your mouth and throat when you eat and drink, and make recommendations accordingly.
When you come for your VF, you will meet two therapists and a radiographer. There may also be some assistants present. You will sit next to an X-Ray machine and the therapist will give you different textures of food and drinks mixed with barium (we also use another contrast called Gastromiro that is not barium based). The radiographer is there to carry out the X-rays and will often offer an opinion on function. The barium makes the food and liquid show up on the X-ray. The X-ray machine is only turned on during swallowing so that radiation is kept to a minimum. A range of textures might be tried and a range of swallow strategies might also be looked at to maximise a person’s ability.
FEES stands for Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing. This assessment is normally be carried out by two specially trained therapists. They will ask a patient to sit upright in the bed or chair and a small flexible camera will be skillfully passed through the nose and positioned in the throat. When the camera is in position the patient will likely be asked to try something to eat and/or drink. The therapist can then tell what happens when the swallow occurs and what is safe to eat and drink. The examination is recorded and the patient can then watch it on the computer screen if required. Most people find this procedure very easy to tolerate. It lasts about ten to 15 minutes.
Royal Liverpool University Hospital
0151 706 2760