Pre-appointment discussion ↓
There is no charge for the time spent discussing your therapy needs with us and arranging any initial appointment. Please do contact us by phone or email to outline your difficulties and tell us what you are looking for. If we think we can help you, we will provide you with copies of two documents giving information about our service, terms and conditions and fees to ensure that you are fully informed about the services we offer and the costs involved. We aim to offer you an appointment within 2 weeks of you receiving our documents and requesting an assessment.
Treatment sessions can take place either in clinic, e.g. the Tower Clinic in Leeds or at your home; including your residential or nursing home. Sessions can also be delivered while you are still in hospital (with agreement from your Consultant) or online via telehealth. Your first appointment with us normally takes place in clinic, or online.
Initial appointment ↓
Your initial consultation will be up to 1 hour in length and will include:
- taking a detailed case history
- exploring how your difficulties affect your daily life
- discussing any previous or current Speech and Language Therapy you may be receiving
- making a preliminary diagnosis following initial observations and assessment
- informing you about any referrals to other services which may be required / be of benefit
Following your initial appointment, you will receive a short report. This will outline the nature of your difficulties and any advice given during the session, along with the recommendations for further assessment/therapy as appropriate. An estimate of the costs involved in any further treatment will also be provided.
Careful, detailed assessment is essential in order to reach a diagnosis and plan appropriate therapy for your communication, voice or swallowing difficulties. This will be done through formal standardised tests and clinical observations. Assessment is an ongoing and integral part of your treatment; to ensure that therapy is effective, to review your progress following a block of therapy, to inform the decision about further treatment, or to provide a second opinion.
Therapy sessions are normally between 45 minutes - 1 hour in length.
The type of treatment and the number of sessions we suggest will depend on many factors such as:
- The nature of the problem
- What therapy is aiming to achieve
- What the research evidence says is the optimum way of treating your communication, voice or swallowing problem (e.g. weekly vs. twice weekly)
We understand that everyone has different commitments and finances available for therapy, and we will discuss our recommendations for treatment with you with this in mind. We endeavour to provide you with the treatment which will deliver the best possible outcome for you within your own circumstances.
Therapy involves working with both you and your family/friends/carers in order to maximise the success of communication in everyday life. Communication and voice problems are complex and improvements are only possible if the programme of therapy given by your therapist (e.g. exercises, conversation strategies) is carried out regularly between sessions. In the same way, advice given about managing swallowing problems needs to be followed in order to benefit from the recommendations.
Where communication difficulties are caused by a medical condition in which there will be progressive deterioration, the aim of therapy will be maintenance rather than improvement of function. We would aim to help you to maintain your ability to communicate for as long as possible. This includes planning ahead to ensure that strategies are in place to help communication to continue via other means if speech becomes too difficult. We can advise on, and help source, communication aids and adaptations as necessary. We can also provide information about voice-banking and offer support with this process.
When working with you to manage your eating, drinking and swallowing problems, we would aim to maintain safe eating and drinking for as long as possible.
Other types of therapy ↓
Some types of therapy are best provided within a small group and this will be discussed with you if it is felt to be the best treatment option for you. Group therapy is often the 'next step' for you after some blocks of individual therapy sessions. Many people are unsure about group therapy to begin with, but there is good evidence of the success of this type of therapy for people with a variety of communication problems. We would encourage you to take up the opportunity to have structured conversation practice in a small, supportive group.
There are an increasing number of apps and computer therapy programmes available, and we are able to make recommendations about the type of software which may be appropriate to incorporate into your treatment plan. Computer therapy is particularly useful for carryover exercises between sessions, but the type of exercises and level of difficulty require specialist knowledge of the underlying communication difficulties if they are to be effective.