What we do
We work with people who have difficulties with communication, eating, drinking or swallowing.
Communication difficulties can occur in the form of speech problems such as ‘dysarthria’ (slurred speech); language disorders such as ‘dysphasia’ (difficulties with understanding or using the correct words); cognitive impairments in areas such as memory, attention and people skills which can affect and impair communication; or difficulties with voice production (‘dysphonia’).
Swallowing difficulties are referred to as ‘dysphagia’ and may affect any stage of swallowing from chewing to clearing food into the stomach. We are experts in assessing, diagnosing and managing difficulties in the oral (mouth) and pharyngeal (throat) phases of swallow.
We provide individual assessment and strategies or therapy to support people to communicate more effectively or eat/drink more safely. Therapists work closely with all members of the multi-disciplinary team as well as liaising with families to provide support and information.
We work with a variety of patient groups, including those with:
- Progressive neurological disease (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis)
- Head injury
- Brain tumour
- Spinal injury and anterior cervical spinal surgery
- Head and neck cancer
- Voice difficulties
- Autoimmune diseases (e.g. Guillian Barre Syndrome)
- Learning disabilities
What to expect while under our care
Inpatients are seen on the wards for a speech and language therapy assessment, following which a diagnosis of their communication and/or swallowing difficulties is made, together with advice and a management plan. This may involve other members of the multi-disciplinary team, including nurses, doctors, physiotherapists etc.
This is a detailed assessment of swallowing involving x-rays in which patients are given food/drinks mixed with a radio-opaque dye which shows up on the x-rays. This procedure allows the speech and language therapist to try different types of food or different techniques if appropriate to help patients swallow more effectively and/or safely. This can be arranged during an inpatient stay or as an outpatient.
Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)
This involves the passing of a small nasendoscope through one nostril to the back of the mouth. This provides the speech and language therapist with a clear view of the throat and allows a direct assessment of the muscles and structures involved in swallowing as someone eats and drinks. This can be undertaken during an inpatient stay or as an outpatient.
Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) inpatients and outpatients, including the Sussex Rehabilitation Centre (SRC). Specialist clinics include outpatient voice, outpatient neurology and videofluoroscopy.
Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH) inpatients and outpatients. Specialist clinics include head and neck oncology, outpatient voice, videofluoroscopy and FEES clinics.
Princess Royal Hospital inpatients/outpatient neurology service: 01444 441881 extn 8057
Sussex Rehabilitation inpatients service: 01444 441881 extn 5770
Speech and language ENT service: 01273 696955 extn 4804 (RSCH); 01444 441881 extn 8057 (PRH)
Royal Sussex County Hospital inpatient service: 01273 696955 extn 4891
Head and neck service: 01273 696955 extn 7211