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Adult hospital inpatient team

Adult Speech and Language Therapy in hospital

The Speech and Language Therapy department provides assessment, diagnosis, advice and treatment, where appropriate, to adult inpatients who have communication (speech, language, voice or swallowing problems). Conditions treated include stroke, brain injury, progressive neurological disorders, cancers, dementia, respiratory problems and swallowing problems associated with the frail older person. The aim is to help people to overcome or minimise the difficulties they have.

At the first visit, the Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) assesses the problems the patient may be having through observation, discussion and by using appropriate tests. Assessment could last a number of sessions as the patient’s condition may fluctuate while in the hospital. The Therapist will then devise a treatment plan appropriate to the patient’s needs. This may involve activities, exercises and use of strategies to help. Families and carers know the person best and it is very important that they participate in the therapy process where possible.

On transfer from the acute hospital, the SLT will refer on and liaise with other therapists in the community so that treatment can continue until the person reaches their full potential.
Speech and Language Therapists liaise closely with many professions within the hospital, such as doctors, nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. They also train other staff in managing communication and swallowing difficulties. In particular, nurses are trained to screen for swallowing problems so that people can eat and drink safely as quickly as possible after experiencing problems.

The SLT service is also committed to training student SLT, who are taken on weekly or block placements to develop their clinical skills. Their involvement with patients can be very rewarding for all concerned.


Patients in the hospital are usually referred by medical, nursing or other staff on the wards. Swallowing (dysphagia) referrals are made by a doctor or a dysphagia trained nurse or professional to minimise inappropriate referrals and to follow evidence-based practice. Anyone can refer a patient with communication problems. However, consent would normally have to be obtained from the patient if possible. Patients may need to be referred for other diagnostic tests before an SLT can proceed.

Useful links:



Speech and Language Therapy Services
Speech and Language Therapy Department
Vaughan Building
Ruckhall Lane

Tel: 344344 or 363975 

Speech and Language Therapy
Wye Valley NHS Trust
The County Hospital

Tel: 01432 355444 ext 5155


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