Palliative care needs

How we can help people with palliative care needs

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 effects.

Care will follow on from diagnosis through to death and be available after death for the family of the patient. Speech and language therapy will help individuals with palliative care needs by helping to support and maintain their quality of life through 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 SLT UK help with?

Speech and language therapy can help with many problems arising through palliative care needs and many of them can help with language, speech, communication and swallowing difficulties.

How does speech and language therapy help with palliative care needs?

Speech and language therapy can help with the individual's 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 cancer as well as 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 assessments, reports, reviews, therapy programmes, support groups, training, advice and education.

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.

Speech and language therapy for palliative care can be extremely beneficial, it can reduce anxiety and stress for the both the patient and their families, it can develop coping strategies to manage communication or swallowing problems and can ultimately improve the patient's quality of end of life.


Speech and language therapy helps individuals who have palliative care needs. Speech and language therapy can help them to cope with certain aspects of their illness. Speech and language therapy will involve the individual’s family in the process as a support for the patient as well as providing extra care through alternative feeding methods or speech production.

If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email or call 0330 088 5643.

Related pages

Conditions Voice problems Speech disorders Neurological problems Communication problems Autism spectrum disorder Eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties Head and neck cancer Hearing loss and impairments Learning difficulties Mental health problems Palliative care needs Physical disabilities
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