Critical care

People with critical care needs who have difficulty with communication and/or swallowing require access to an early, timely, responsive and appropriately skilled speech and language therapy service to maximise their choice, participation, safety and wellbeing.

Join our Strategic group

Please join the strategic group for SLTs working in critical care and help bring a positive change to our professional role in this challenging environment.

The aim of the group is to improve the profile of SLTs working in critical care nationally, through the review of standards of practice, contribution to national AHP, critical care forums and generation of research ideas.  A key principle is that working as a team brings benefits for our patients. However, our own SLT practices are quite diverse, so this is an opportunity to align our work and have a clear strategy.  A core group will oversee the required projects, but involvement of the broader membership is encouraged.  Please use this Basecamp group to share your experiences of working in critical care. We can then collate examples of good practice and explore solutions for problematic areas.  Our work will link into the relevant CEN groups, who’ll continue to provide clinical discussions and learning opportunities.

To find out more, please contact Jackie McRae.

***Help develop the Critical care online section***

The RCSLT's Position paper speech and language therapy in adult critical care (2014) aims to provide SLTs with the most up to date evidence to support the provision of speech and language therapy services in critical care in order to improve patient outcomes.  It includes sections on:

  • key recommendations for implementation
  • philosophy of care
  • role of the speech and language therapist
  • benefits of providing a speech and language therapy service
  • risks of not providing a speech and language therapy service
  • medico-legal issues
  • workforce development and planning.

The RCSLT's Tracheostomy competency framework (2014) aims to reflect the broad range of patients with whom speech and language therapists work.  It includes sections on:

  • core tracheostomy skills
  • attainment and maintenance of competences
  • critical care tracheostomy competencies
  • head and neck competencies
  • paediatric competencies
  • burns tracheostomy competencies
  • community and/or long term tracheostomy competencies.

Further reading:

RCSLT Bulletin feature articles

Read Dharinee Hansjee’s article Facilitating inclusive, integrated, cost effective care published in the Bulletin, October 2014, p 27.

Read Hannah Roberts’ article Out of hospital cardiac arrest published in the Bulletin, September 2016, pp 12-13. 


Hansjee, D. (2014). Facilitating inclusive, integrated, cost effective care. RCSLT Bulletin, issue 750, p 27. 

Roberts, H. (2016). Out of hospital cardiac arrest. RCSLT Bulletin, issue 773, pp 12-13.  


Contacting RCSLT:

We welcome your feedback and suggestions at any time. Please send these to Paul O'Meara, Project Coordinator.


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