We have a dedicated team of Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) treating patients with communication and swallowing difficulties.
The team consists of therapists working on the acute wards and stroke unit at the James Paget University Hospital, as well as in the Early Supported Discharge Team (ESD) for Stroke Care, and in the community visiting locations such as community hospitals and clinics, as well as in patients’ homes and care homes/nursing homes.
Communication difficulties can include difficulty speaking, understanding, reading and writing, in addition to voice difficulties or stammering. Speech and language therapists assess for any difficulties and provide advice for maximising communication skills, in addition to providing therapy, if appropriate.
Swallowing difficulties are also assessed by speech and language therapists. We will offer support and guidance on ways to make eating and drinking as safe and comfortable as possible. This may include modifying food and fluid consistencies, as well as strategies to support your eating and drinking.
Communication and swallowing difficulties can be caused by a range of conditions such as brain injury (e.g. stroke or an accident), progressive neurological conditions (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis) or from a range of other illnesses or conditions.
Speech and language therapists assess the nature of your difficulties. We work in conjunction with other healthcare professionals and carers to give advice and support to maximise a person's quality of life. The type and amount of speech and language therapy will depend on your condition and rehabilitation goals.
Our regular clinic locations are:
As a result of the COVID pandemic and staff shortages, there is currently an increased waiting time for our service. As we return to a normal service, we will ensure that we see individuals with the highest clinical need as a priority. We will contact you as soon as we are able to let you know when an appointment is available.
Acute Speech and Language Therapy Team
The role of speech and language therapists in the acute hospital is to assess and manage adults with communication and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) which can be caused by a range of medical conditions.
The Adult Acute Speech and Language Therapy Team work as part of a multidisciplinary team across a number of wards in the James Paget University Hospital, such as Care of the Elderly, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Respiratory and Intensive Care to provide swallowing and communication advice. This may include changing the textures of food and drink to make them easier to swallow, or working alongside other medical professions to provide recommendations if a patient cannot safely swallow food and drink, including long-term feeding management plans.
Stroke Speech and Language Therapy Team
We carry out assessments and therapy on the Acute Stroke Unit and Hyper Acute Stroke Unit in the James Paget University Hospital. We assess people’s communication and swallowing and may provide advice, therapy and modification of food and fluid consistencies if this is indicated. We are also involved in the assessment and management of longer-term feeding options if a person’s swallowing continues to be unsafe, alongside other medical professionals.
We work with the multidisciplinary team including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, nurses, healthcare assistants and doctors.
We offer a regular X-ray clinic at the James Paget University Hospital to further assess people’s swallowing if required. This will be decided on an individual basis and your therapist will explain the procedure if this is appropriate for you.
Early Supported Discharge Team (ESD)
Our Early Supported Discharge Team support people after having a stroke with their communication and swallowing difficulties. ESD are a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals who provide rehabilitation in your own home for around 6-8 weeks. The team comprises physiotherapists, occupational therapists, a speech and language therapist and therapy assistant practitioners. Referrals into this service are made via an acute hospital.
Community Speech and Language Therapy Team
The community Speech and Language Therapy Team provide support to adults with speech, language and communication difficulties in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area. We also support adults with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties caused by a range of conditions. This may involve assessment, advice and management of your communication and swallowing difficulties. This may be delivered by telephone, video consultation or in-person visits in clinics or your own home.
Community Voice Service
This is currently provided remotely via video consultation.
If you have swallowing difficulties, you can be referred to our service by your GP or specialist nurse, paramedic practitioner, specialist neurology nurse or matron. For acute patients in the James Paget University Hospital, referrals are made by the hospital medical team or via the stroke pathway.
Communication referrals can be made by your GP, health professional or you can self-refer by calling East Coast Community Access (ECCA) on 01493 809977.
Referrals for our voice clinics come via the Ear Nose and Throat department (ENT).
The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists provides some useful information regarding voice therapy and online resources:
Their Voice Care Fact sheet can be found here: https://www.rcslt.org/wp-content/uploads/media/docs/policy/factsheet-top-tips-caring-for-your-voice.pdf
The caseload for stammering is currently on hold, with no confirmed date as to when it may be recommenced. However if you still wish to, self-referral can be made by calling 01493 808977.
There are some online resources which provide useful support for both individuals who stammer and their families:
British Stammering Association
East Coast Community Access (ECCA): 01493 809977 – our operational hours are 7 days a week, 365 days a year, between 7am and 8pm.
Please note this is not an emergency telephone line. If you need urgent assistance or advice, please contact either your GP or NHS 111.
More advice for specific diagnoses can be found on:
Stroke Association Stroke Association | Home
Parkinson’s UK Parkinson's symptoms | Parkinson's UK (parkinsons.org.uk)
MND Association MND Association | Fighting motor neurone disease
Alzheimer’s Society Alzheimer's Society (alzheimers.org.uk)
Headway About brain injury | Headway