The primary role of the speech and language therapist (SLT) in this area is to assess and manage communication and/or feeding problems in children with tracheostomies.Following referral to the SLT team, the child will be seen by a specialist SLT working with the Ear, nose and throat (ENT) team.
Assessment includes a comprehensive case history with particular reference to medical diagnosis and management. The child is assessed with regards to the most efficient and acceptable (to the child and family/carer) means of communication.
Where clinically indicated, this will include a speaking valve assessment. In many cases, children have associated voice disorders.
Feeding assessment routinely includes a comprehensive case history and clinical feeding assessment. Further instrumental assessment of swallow function (for example, video fluoroscopy swallow study) maybe indicated to aid management.
Ongoing management is ideally managed by local speech and language therapy services allowing co-ordination with other agencies involved in the child’s care and educational services. This is in close liaison with the SLT services at Great Ormond Street Hospital.