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WHO OR WHAT IS A SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPIST? He/she is a specialist trained to deal with all kinds of problems concerned with communication, and feeding and swallowing.

HOW DO I GET TO SEE A SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPIST? A lot of our referrals are from hospital Consultants and from GPs out in the community. We may be asked to see patients by other professionals like the Physiotherapist or Dietitian. Sometimes a member of staff from a nursing or residential home may ask us to see someone living there. And finally, any member of the general public can contact the Adult Speech and Language Therapy department if they feel they have a problem with communication or feeding and swallowing.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN I FIRST SEE THE SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPIST? The therapist will carry out a number of tests which may be formal or informal to see what your problems are. Following this, specific treatment or advice will be given to try to help improve the problem.

WHERE DO WE SEE PEOPLE? In-patients: We see patients on a variety of wards at the hospital.

Out-patients: They might be seen in the Speech and Language Therapy Department for either individual and/or group treatment.

Home visits: Some people might be seen at home. This is at the discretion of the Speech and Language Therapist and is dependent on the nature of the person’s problems and their health.

WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS DOES THE SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPIST SEE? The two main areas we deal with are: 1. Communication problems: We see people who have difficulties with understanding what is said to them, speech, reading and writing, voice problems, stammering, and memory problems. We deal with other kinds of communication problems as well. 2. Feeding and Swallowing problems: Some people have problems with eating, drinking or swallowing. These problems may develop suddenly or gradually. In some cases we may have to alter the way the person is taking food and drink, or indeed it may be necessary, for safety reasons, that they stop taking food and drink by mouth altogether. (In this case, food and liquid will be given by some other means). This is all done to ensure the patient’s safety and hopefully, in most cases, will only be temporary.

HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO RECEIVE TREATMENT? That depends on the kind of problem you have and its severity. It may only be for a short time, or, if necessary, may extend over a number of months or possibly even longer. You may be seen every week or less frequently if this is not needed.

HOW WILL I GET TO THE HOSPITAL? If you are given an out-patient appointment and have physical problems following a stroke for example, transport will be arranged for you.

HOW WILL I KNOW WHERE TO COME? If you are an out-patient coming in an ambulance, the ambulance driver will bring you to the department. If you are not coming in an ambulance you will be sent a map of the hospital showing you where our department is.

CAN SOMEONE COME WITH ME? Yes, certainly. If you are coming by ambulance please let us know well in advance, so that we can book an extra place on the ambulance if that is appropriate.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO? Whether you are an in-patient or out-patient, please make sure you have your reading glasses and hearing aid if you use them. If you are an in-patient and these have been left at home, please ask a relative or friend to bring them in. If you are attending a Speech and Language Therapy outpatient appointment, please bring them with you.