East Sussex Speech and Language Therapy Service for Adults provides assessment, diagnosis and treatment to both inpatients and outpatients with acquired disorders of communication and swallowing.
Inpatients are generally seen on the wards whilst community patients are seen in clinic bases or their own homes. Patients are treated either individually or in small groups and there is emphasis on helping people function more effectively within their environment. The number of appointments you have will vary depending on your need – some people will have a one-off assessment while others may have a block of treatment.
All qualified speech and language therapists have completed a recognised degree course and are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.
Who we see
We offer services to adults (over 16 years) who have acquired communication and swallowing problems.
These are some examples of the communication difficulties that we assess and treat:
- Dysphasia / Aphasia – A language disorder which may affect a person’s ability to speak, write and understand spoken or written words, possibly following a head injury or stroke.
- Dysarthria – An articulation disorder due to disturbed or weak control of the muscles for speech, e.g. lips, tongue, jaw, palate, vocal folds and muscles which control breathing. This could be as a result of Parkinson’s disease or other progressive neurological conditions, such as motor neurone disease.
- Dyspraxia (verbal) – An articulation disorder which affects a person’s ability to plan and execute speech movements in the absence of muscle weakness, paralysis, sensory loss, comprehension deficit or ataxia, for example after a stroke.
- Dysphonia – Altered voice production as a result of organic, physical or functional changes, for example as a result of head and neck surgery or progressive neurological disease.
Speech and Language Therapists assess, diagnose and manage swallowing disorders (dysphagia) associated with acquired neurological disorders, stroke, head and neck surgery, palliative care and respiratory complications (e.g. tracheostomy).
Our aim is to identify those individuals who are at risk of aspiration (the inhalation of food / fluid into the airway) and to ensure that eating and drinking is safe and sufficient. It is helpful for us to be involved in care at an early stage as we contribute to the diagnosis and management of swallowing difficulties.
We will provide information about the results of assessments, agreed oral intake and any appropriate swallowing strategies. Further investigation, e.g. videofluoroscopy, may be required (a videofluoroscopy is a moving x-ray image of swallowing which can be an important diagnostic tool for the assessment and management of people with swallowing difficulties).
Referral to our service
We have an open referral system. Typically, people are referred:
- by their GP
- by their current hospital consultant or another health professional
- by contacting the department themselves (self referrals are accepted by speech and language therapy teams, as are referrals from carers, with the consent of the patient).