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Speech and language therapy in palliative care 

Speech and language therapy in palliative care
Speech and language therapy in palliative care

Tim Luckett

and Katherine L.P. Reid

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date: 16 May 2022

Palliative care is an emerging specialty within the field of speech and language therapy (SLT); the discipline is currently under-represented both in specialist services and the research literature. This belies the fact that many patients in the palliative phase suffer problems with swallowing (dysphagia) and communication, the core domains of SLT practice. This chapter provides an overview of difficulties encountered in these domains by people with life-limiting conditions together with common approaches to assessment and management. Assessment and management should be person-centred, integrated into multidisciplinary care, and seek to maintain function via minimal intervention for maximum gain. More research is needed to inform appropriately integrated, person-centred models of SLT provision that enable difficulties with communication and swallowing to be addressed alongside other symptoms and care needs. It seems likely that difficulties in these domains are currently under-identified and under-treated in many cases.

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