Who we are
We are a team of Speech and Language Therapists working with adults (typically 18 years +) who have communication and / or swallowing disorders.
We operate an open referral system (therefore we accept referrals from anyone), although some variation exists within specific service areas.
Who do we work with and where?
The whole team is based at Astmoor Industrial Estate in Runcorn however each service is delivered from different areas.
We provide a service to some of the inpatient wards at Halton General Hospital, usually before the patients are then repatriated back to the community.
Out Patient services:
Outpatient services are provided for Halton residents at Halton General Hospital (Runcorn) and various community clinics across Runcorn and Widnes.
We provide a SLT service to residents of Halton who experience communication and / or swallowing disordering to people’s own homes and residential and nursing Homes.
SLT works with the X-ray team and Radiologists in providing a specialist swallowing investigation and therapy service for Halton residents. This service operates at Warrington Hospital and also Whiston Hospital.
Head and Neck Service:
We provide a specialist Head and Neck Cancer service covering both Halton and St Helens.
SLT provides a Voice service to residents of Halton who have been referred by Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) in relation to difficulties they are experiencing with their voice.
What do Speech and Language Therapists do?
Speech and Language Therapists offer assessment and therapy for people with communication difficulties.
Communication difficulties can have a significant impact on our personal, social and working life.
You may experience problems communicating for a variety of reasons, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain tumour, dementia, cancer and neurological conditions such as MND, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.
Symptoms can vary greatly, from ‘slurring’ of speech to difficulties in understanding language and finding the right words to use.
Common communication difficulties that can benefit from speech and language therapy support include:
Aphasia is common in people who have had a stroke and around a third of stroke survivors experience it (stroke.org.uk, 2016).
It can also affect people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or brain tumour.
Aphasia can affect your ability to find the right words and understand what others say. It can also affect your ability to read and write.
Dysarthria is common amongst those who have suffered a stroke, head injury or brain tumour.
It can also affect those who have long term neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease.
Dysarthria affects the muscles used for speech.
This means that your speech may sound slow or slurred.
Dyspraxia can occur following a stroke, traumatic brain injury or brain tumour.
Dyspraxia affects your ability to move the muscles in the face, mouth or throat in the right order for speaking.
Dysphonia is the medical term for disorders of the voice.
Anyone can experience a problem with their voice and difficulties occur for a variety of reasons.
You may feel that your voice is hoarse or weak or that it ‘cuts out’ when you are trying to talk.
It is important that we work closely with your ENT Doctor who can have a look at your voice box prior to commencing voice therapy.
We also have a bi-monthly Joint Voice Clinic. You can find more information on the Joint Voice Clinic webpage.
Speech and Language Therapists can support people who are having problems with their swallow.
Dysphagia is the medical term for a swallowing difficulty.
The severity of a swallowing difficulty can vary. Some people have difficulty swallowing food, others struggle with liquids.
Some people find it hard to swallow at all.
If someone has a swallowing difficulty there is a risk that food or fluid may ‘go down the wrong way.’
This means that instead of going down the food pipe (the oesophagus) and into the stomach, it goes down the wind pipe (trachea) and into the lungs.
Common signs and symptoms of dysphagia include:
- Coughing / choking when eating and / or drinking
- Wet or gurgly voice quality
- Difficulty controlling food or drink in the mouth
- Food sticking in the throat or chest area
- Weight loss or dehydration
- Chest infections or pneumonia
There are many reasons why someone may begin to experience difficulties with their swallow.
For example, the difficulties could arise as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, dementia or other neurological condition such as Parkinson’s Disease, MS or MND.
People with respiratory difficulties or severe reflux may also find that their swallow is affected.
A Speech and Language Therapist can assess your swallow and help you to develop ways to make your swallowing easier and safer.
If you are experiencing difficulties with your swallow, it is important that you inform your GP immediately.
The amount and type of Speech and Language Therapy you receive will vary depending on the nature of your difficulties.
Speech and Language Therapy may include:
- Exercises to improve speech, language, voice or swallow
- Exploring ways to help you eat and drink more safely
- Working with you to support your reading / writing
- Developing strategies to support your speech
- Trialling new ways to communicate and establishing the most effective method of getting your message across
- Using technology and other aids to help you communicate more easily
- Training others how to communicate more effectively with you
- Increasing your confidence in your communication skills
- Practicing using your new communication skills in different environments
- Offering advice and support to you, your family and anyone that is important to you