Palliative Care is used to describe the care needed by someone who is suffering from a life threatening illness or disease. This is most commonly someone who is suffering from cancer. This type of care supports both the patient and their family, in coming to terms with their condition, and coping with its affects. Care will follow on from diagnosis through to death and be available post death for family of the patient. Speech and language therapy will help individuals with palliative care needs by helping to support and maintain their communication, eating and drinking abilities.
What is palliative care?
Palliative care is end of life care. Palliative care involves many different aspects of care, from information and support to symptom control and end of life bereavement counselling. It helps to manage the pain associated with life threatening illnesses and encompasses support both psychologically and spiritually. It offers support to patients and helps them to live as actively as they wish and as long as possible before death. Palliative care can also help families of sufferers to cope after their death as well as during their treatment.
What problems during Palliative care can speech and language therapy help with?
Speech and language therapy can help with many problems arising through palliative care needs and many of them can help with the following:
- Comprehension Problems
- Expressive Language Problems
- Speech Sound Problems
- Communication Problems
- Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Difficulties
How does speech and language therapy help with palliative care needs?
Speech and language therapy can help with the individuals needs during palliative care in many different ways. It can include helping a patient to cope with a range of symptoms arising from cancers such as, laryngeal, head and neck as well as sufferers of Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Ensuring a patient is comfortable and coping with the onset of difficulties arising from life threatening illnesses will be the main priority of speech and language therapy. Speech and language therapy will also support families to deal with changes such as, different methods of feeding or speech production.
What would speech and language therapy treatment during palliative care involve?
Speech and language therapy may include one or all of the following:
- One to One Therapy
- Clinic visits
- home visits
- Consultative Role
- Alternative and Augmentative Communication
- Advice and Education
- Compensatory Strategies
- Assessment of Capacity
An initial assessment will be carried out by one of our Speech and Language Therapists. This will highlight any worries and difficulties concerning communication and speech. It will also provide a chance for you to share any concerns you may have, and allow you to discuss what you would like to work on and improve.
Benefits of speech and language therapy for palliative care needs are:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improving coping strategies
- Benefits for family and friends
- Improved quality of life
How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment for palliative care needs?
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