The Speech and Language Therapy Team (SALT) at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital is leading the way in Dorset as the first to offer a seven-day service, enabling patients to be assessed more quickly and when needed.
Many patients admitted to the hospital suffer from dysphagia (difficulty with swallowing) which can happen for a number of reasons, for example if they have suffered a stroke, have breathing problems or have conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia. These patients require a full assessment by a dedicated speech and language therapist to ensure it is safe for them to eat and drink.
With the SALT team now on site at the weekend, patients can be assessed every day of the week, reducing delays and speeding up their recovery. Two additional speech and language therapist posts have also been funded to help the extended service run smoothly.
Heidi Feld, clinical specialist speech and language therapist, said: “The sooner we can enable our patients to eat and drink safely, the better this is for their recovery and overall wellbeing.”
Since the extended service started in May, 118 additional patients have been assessed, which includes 74 stroke patients and 44 acutely unwell patients.
Charlotte Gordon, clinical specialist speech and language therapist, said: “The whole team has been very flexible and supportive of this change, as we recognised the need for our patients to have access to us over the weekend.”
The seven-day service follows others changes to working practice in the Trust, such as the new seven-day CT scanning service which was introduced earlier in the year, and further demonstrates the Trust’s commitment to improving patients’ experience and quality of care.