Speech and Language Therapy

Service Operating Times

  The service operates Monday to Friday between the core hours of 08.30- 16.30

Contact us

For information or referrals, please contact us at:
Adult Speech and Language Therapy Services
Bourne Health Clinic
St Gilberts Road
Bourne
PE10 9XA

 Telephone:  01778 426149

  Fax:  01778 426853

 Email: LHNT.SLT@nhs.net

 For work experience requests, please visit www.ulh.nhs.uk/jobs/work-experience/

  Click here for the speech and language therapy service referral details

Service Structure

Our service provides assessment and therapy for adults with communication and swallowing difficulties in various settings.

  • During their inpatient admission to Hospital.
  • In outpatient clinics based in the Acute and Community Hospitals within Lincolnshire. Transport may be available for hospital based clinics where patients are unable to use public transport.
  • In community clinics and in GP practices.
  • Where clinically appropriate we may be able to provide home visits to see patients in their own homes, or to visit patients at Nursing and Residential Care Homes.

We provide assessment, therapy and support for adults over 18 years of age with communication and/or swallowing problems. These difficulties may be due to:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Neurological Conditions
  • Progressive Neurological Conditions
  • Stroke
  • Dementia (swallowing only)
  • Head and Neck Cancer
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Other medical conditions

We also offer assessment and therapy for adults who have voice difficulties, or adults aged 19 and over who have a stammer.

Communication Difficulties

A Speech and Language Therapist will be able to assess your communication skills to identify any areas of difficulty with your communication and will advise you on the best way to help with these areas. They may recommend a period of therapy or suggest communication strategies to help you manage the difficulty.

For patients with communication problems, intervention may involve:

  • Improving understanding of spoken and written language
  • Improving production of spoken and written words
  • Improving the intelligibility of speech
  • Improving the fluency of speech  
  • Improving voice quality
  • Improving overall ability to communicate with others
  • Providing alternative means of communication, for example, through the use of communication aids. This may be supported by other specialist services including the Electronic Assisted Technology Services (EATS).

At present, we are unable to offer communication therapy for adults with communication difficulties as a result of Dementia.

Swallowing Difficulties

Swallowing difficulties may occur when there are changes to the movement or co-ordination of muscles of the face, mouth or throat. Speech and Language Therapists work with people who are experiencing these difficulties. The medical term for a swallowing difficulty is dysphagia. Some people experience swallowing difficulties due to problems within the oesophagus (food pipe) or stomach.  These difficulties are managed by Doctors rather than Speech and Language Therapists.

Swallowing difficulties may lead to food and drink ‘going down the wrong way’ and entering the airway and/ or the lungs. This is known as ‘aspiration.’ If this happens, people may cough, throat clear, have a wet gurgly voice or their breathing may change. Sometimes they may feel that food and drink sticks in the mouth or throat when swallowing. If food or drink enters the lungs this can lead to repeated chest infections and/or pneumonia. The inability to eat and drink enough may lead to malnutrition and dehydration. Swallowing difficulties may also result in choking. If swallowing difficulties are not appropriately managed, the consequences can be very serious.

For people with swallowing difficulties, Speech and Language Therapy may be aimed at:

  • Improving swallowing safety by reducing the likelihood of food and drink ‘going down the wrong way.’  Speech and Language Therapists may recommend a range of strategies which may include modifying the consistency of food/ drinks.
  • Strengthening the muscles involved in swallowing through direct exercises. Direct exercises are not appropriate for all medical conditions.

Speech and Language Therapists will give recommendations that are specific to the individual person, taking account of the nature and cause of the swallowing difficulties.

Modifying Food and Fluids 

Food Modifications

To reduce the risk of aspiration and/ or choking, a Speech and Language Therapist may recommend altering the texture of the foods that are eaten. Different food textures are recommended, dependent on the nature and severity of the difficulty. Sometimes changes to a normal diet may be advised, such as avoiding/ adapting ‘high risk foods.’

  Please click here for information regarding high risk foods.

Alternatively, a Speech and Language Therapist may recommend following a specific ‘Dysphagia diet’ such as:

- Texture B (thin puree) diet 

- Texture C (thick puree) diet

- Texture D (pre-mashed) diet

- Texture E (fork mashable) diet

These dysphagia diets follow national descriptors. The descriptors were developed by the National Patient Safety Agency Dysphagia Expert Reference Group jointly with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, and  are approved by the British Dietetic Association, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, Hospital Caterers Association and the National Nurses Nutrition Group. Please click here for a copy of ‘Dysphagia Diet Food Texture Descriptors’ (April 2011) which provides further information and checklists for safely preparing foods suitable for these diets.

  Food descriptors for industry

For meals ideas that follow the Dysphagia Diet Food Texture Descriptors, please click the link below

  Texture C meal ideas information sheet

  Texture C store cupboard ideas contact details

  Texture D meal ideas information sheet

  Texture D store cupboard contact details 2

  Texture E meal ideas information sheet

  Texture E store cupboard ideas contact details

Fluid Modifications

To safely swallow normal drinks the throat muscles must be in excellent working order. Swallowing is a very complicated process, which involves a series of muscles working

together quickly to ensure your airway closes. If the muscles are weak, liquid may ‘go down the wrong way’ which can lead to chest infections or aspiration pneumonia which can be fatal. 

To reduce the risks of drinks entering the lungs, a Speech and Language Therapist may recommend thickening your drinks using a fluid thickener. To thicken fluids, a thickening powder is added to fluids. If required this thickener is prescribed by a GP or a doctor in hospital.  The thickener does not contain any medicine or nutrition. It can reduce the risks of fluids going the wrong way as when fluids are thicker, they move more slowly which gives the muscles time to work and therefore makes it easier to swallow safely. 

A Speech and Language Therapist will determine what consistency your fluids need to be to allow them to be safely swallowed and will advise you how much thickener is needed.  It is essential to follow this guidance including the measuring and mixing instructions. There are different types of thickener. 

To describe different types of consistency, different terms are used. In Lincolnshire your therapist may refer to 

- Syrup consistency

- Custard consistency

- Pudding Consistency

Please note this NHS England Patient Safety Alert relating to use of thickening powders.

  Click here

Please click here for further information and guidance as to how to safely prepare thickened fluids.

  custard thickened drinks advice sheet thick & easy clear

  pudding thickened drinks advice sheet thick & easy clear

  syrup thickened drinks advice sheet Thick and Easy Clear