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Adapting Speech-Language Therapy Practices in the Wake of COVID-19: Insights from UK Research

Adapting Speech-Language Therapy Practices in the Wake of COVID-19: Insights from UK Research

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted healthcare delivery, including ear, nose, and throat (ENT) speech-language therapy (SLT) services. A recent discussion paper, "COVID-19 and ENT SLT services, workforce and research in the UK," provides critical insights and recommendations for practitioners navigating these challenges. This blog post will explore key findings and suggest actionable steps for SLTs to improve their skills and adapt to the new healthcare landscape.

Key Findings from the Research

The study highlights several significant threats and opportunities for ENT SLT services:

Implementing Research Outcomes

Based on the research, SLTs can take several steps to enhance their practice:

Embrace Telehealth

Telehealth has proven effective for many SLT services. Practitioners should invest in training and technology to deliver high-quality remote care. Research shows that telehealth can provide favorable clinical outcomes and high patient satisfaction (Burns et al., 2017).

Focus on Non-Instrumental Assessments

With limited access to instrumental procedures, SLTs should refine their skills in non-instrumental assessments. Detailed history-taking, perceptual and acoustic voice evaluations, and comprehensive clinical swallowing assessments can be valuable tools.

Enhance Collaboration

SLTs should foster collaborations with multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) to ensure comprehensive patient care. Virtual MDT meetings can facilitate ongoing communication and coordinated treatment plans.

Prioritize Workforce Well-being

The psychological impact of the pandemic on healthcare workers cannot be overlooked. Institutions should provide mental health support and promote open communication to address staff concerns.

Encouraging Further Research

The study underscores the need for ongoing research to address emerging challenges and optimize SLT practices. Key research priorities include:

SLTs are encouraged to participate in research initiatives and contribute to national databases to enhance the evidence base for ENT SLT services.

To read the original research paper, please follow this link: COVID-19 and ENT SLT services, workforce and research in the UK: A discussion paper.


Citation: Patterson, J. M., Govender, R., Roe, J., Clunie, G., Murphy, J., Brady, G., Haines, J., White, A., & Carding, P. (2020). COVID-19 and ENT SLT services, workforce and research in the UK: A discussion paper. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 55(5), 806-817. https://doi.org/10.1111/1460-6984.12565

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