The Adult Speech and Language Therapy Community Service provides assessment, diagnosis and treatment for adults with acquired voice, speech, communication and/or swallowing difficulty.

They are split into three locality teams across Oxfordshire – South, North and West, and City and East and we see people in a range of settings such as their own homes, outpatient clinics, community hospitals and care homes.

The team commonly see people living with conditions such as strokes, head injuries, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Motor Neurone Disease but also more recently with COVID-related symptoms.

Difficulties with communication can lead to affected relationships, frustration, social withdrawal, access to services and changes in sense of identity. Problems with swallowing can lead to health-related consequences such as choking, malnutrition, dehydration and chest infections as well as affecting the enjoyment of eating and drinking and involvement in social situations.

Lizzie King, clinical lead said:

“We are proud to be considered a ‘stand out’ service for our use of digital consultations and these have really benefited many of our patients; particularly as there is no PPE or mask communication barrier.

“For our patients who have difficulty speaking over the telephone, video calling allows meaning to be conveyed effectively to our patients along with a friendly face.”

The team use a range of therapy approaches to maximise people’s abilities and we work closely with other services. One user said:

“The therapy service I was able to gain immediate benefit from the advice given.  I have been left with enough tools and advice to enable me I believe to overcome my speech problem. I will definitely recommend this service to my Parkinson suffering friends if and when they start to have speech or swallowing problems.”

Another service user explained: “I was very pleased with the sympathetic and pleasant therapist.”

The “wonderful care” provided for another contributor’s husband was also highlighted in a review that stated: “The therapist was so caring, compassionate and professional in her approach. Her guidance and support helped my husband’s quick recovery. Thank you.”

Find out more about the service here.