The resources on this page will help you to continually improve your skills and expand your knowledge on and around the topic of critical care.
Last updated: 2019
Continuing professional development is a requirement for all speech and language therapists.
Here you will find resources to help you to continually improve your skills and expand your knowledge.
For related RCSLT topics please see clinical guidance A to Z.
Please contact us if you have any suggestions or feedback on these pages.
Please note: the resources on this page are provided for informational purposes only. No endorsement is expressed or implied unless otherwise indicated and while we make every effort to ensure this page is up to date and relevant, we cannot take responsibility for pages maintained by external providers
Knowledge and skills
The Intensive Care Society developed a multi-professional competency framework (2018), designed to support career development within critical care.
This can be used in conjunction with the RCSLT Tracheostomy competency framework (2022) (PDF) which aims to reflect the broad range of patients with whom SLTs work, and includes sections on:
- Core tracheostomy skills
- Attainment and maintenance of competences
- Critical care tracheostomy competencies
- Head and neck competencies
- Paediatric competencies
- Burns tracheostomy competencies and/or long-term tracheostomy competencies
- Community and/or long-term tracheotomy competencies
Visit Dysphagia Learning for:
- RCSLT FEES competency framework
- RCSLT dysphagia training and competency framework
Download the Word version of the framework.
The following resources will help you understand the critical care environment, wider workforce and role of the SLT within it.
- RCSLT mouth care guidance – best practice guidelines for SLTs delivering mouth care and collection of useful resources
- Tracheostomy Review and Management Service (TRAMS)
- National Tracheostomy Safety Project
- What is Facial Oral Tract Therapy (FOTT)
- On the right Trach NCEPOD Tracheostomy Care (2014)
- The Global Tracheostomy Collaborative
- Physiotherapy in Critical care
- The role of SLT in critical care
- The role of OT in critical care
- Dietitians in Critical Care
- Nursing in Critical care
- Tracheostomy audit toolkit, NCEPOD
- Dysphagia matters podcast on dysphagia in critical care with guest speaker Sarah Wallace
Tracheostomy Safety elearning is available from the Health Education England eLearning for Healthcare site.
The National Tracheostomy Safety Project website (and App) have many free elearning tools and video resources for SLTs, other professionals, patients and families. Videos specifically show the importance of communication, speaking valve assessment, Above Cuff Vocalisation (ACV), cuff deflation and the benefits of FEES.
Elearning modules also available from Austin Health Tracheostomy and Management Service (TRAMS), Australia.
Many trusts have on-site clinical simulation labs which offer a unique opportunity to practice hands-on skills for mouth care, basic tracheostomy care and fibreoptic nasendoscopy with life-like mannequins in varying scenarios. Examples of these facilities are:
- St George’s Advanced Practice Simulator (GAPS),
- Simulation and Interactive Learning (SaIL) Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, and;
- Clinical Simulation Centre (CSC) at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
Modules may also be available at regional centres.
There are currently no regular post-registration courses to train SLTs working in critical care, however, organisations do advertise relevant study days that would be suitable for SLTs. Please refer to the relevant RCSLT CENs, Twitter handles and Basecamp groups.
Critical care is an area for Advanced Clinical Practice training with modules being developed within Higher Education Institutes for a mix of healthcare professionals, including SLTs.
Attendance at speech and language therapy specific conferences provides access to new research projects and networking opportunities. These include (list not exhaustive):
- UK Swallow Research Group (UKSRG)
- European Society for Swallowing Disorders (ESSD)
- Dysphagia Research Society (DRS)
As critical care is a multi-professional environment it can be valuable to attend study days or conferences organised by other professional groups such as:
- BACCN conference, annual event, September
- Intensive Care Society State of the Art conference, annual event, December
- European Society of Intensive Care Medicine LIVES conference, annual event, September/October
- Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care (ACPRC), annual, April
- BDA critical care, annual, November
- CC3N and Regional Critical Care Networks – annual meetings November/December
- Paediatric Intensive Care Society (PICS) annual meeting
- UK Critical Care Research Forum