Referral Criteria (Acute)

This service can only accept referrals for people aged 18 years and over.

Appropriate referrals include the following:

  • Admitted specifically for investigation of a swallowing disorder
  • A documented diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia
  • On thickened fluids in the community and require advice
  • Have been seen by a water swallow screen nurse and failed this test
  • Newly diagnosed speech or language difficulties e.g aphasia, dysarthria
  • Communication or swallowing problems where the clients presentation has changed
  • Transfers from other SLT departments

Inpatient referral to speech and language therapy is not appropriate if:

  1. Patient’s swallowing difficulty is with tablets only – consider liquid medications
  2. Patient is known to SLT and is currently managing their previously recommended diet/ fluids
  3. Symptoms indicate an oesophageal stage problem e.g regurgitation, vomiting, problem with food sticking after the swallow, no difficulty swallowing liquids
  4. Difficulty chewing due to poor dentition – consider soft and bite sized or minced and moist or pureed diet
  5. Behavioural eating and drinking problem – refusing or spitting out food, intermittently holding food/ fluid in the mouth (pouching). SLT can advise strategies only – phone ext 53873
  6. Only problem is poor appetite, declining to eat or drink
  7. Too drowsy to manage sufficient oral intake
  8. Weight loss with no apparent swallowing difficulties
  9. Client is Feeding at Risk – this has been documented and there have been no changes since documentation

Patients who have a history of head and neck cancer or are currently under the ear, nose and throat department and require speech and language therapy assessment should be referred to the specialist ENT speech and language therapist. Call 01253 952314 for more information.