21 July 2023

The RCSLT Neonatal SLT Clinical Excellence Network has developed new guidance to support SLTs working in neonatal care.

The guidance includes new staffing recommendations for neonatal units which provides an update to the 2018 recommendations to accurately reflect the SLT service needs on neonatal units according to activity and clinical need.  

The new calculation is based around cot activity and is specific to each type of unit, which is more reflective of the input required from SLTs.  

The information also includes: 

  • an online calculator tool to make it easier for SLTs and service providers to calculate their SLT service requirements. 
  • the benefits of using an embedded model of service provision and the risks of not using it.  
  • information on skills mix within neonatal care. 
  • recommendations for minimum staffing levels for local neonatal units and special care units. 

In addition, a position paper has been created on ‘Feeding and non-invasive ventilatory support in neonatal care’, which includes a review and summary of the literature and evidence base in the evolving field of neonatal infant respiratory care, along with a number of recommendations. The paper provides guidance for SLTs supporting communication and feeding outcomes for infants requiring non-invasive respiratory support.  

It is intended that this position paper will generate discussion between SLTs, parents, families and/or carers, and members of the neonatal MDT, and guide individualised clinical decision-making for when to begin suck feeding opportunities for infants who require non-invasive respiratory support, with specific focus on nasal continuous airway pressure (nCPAP) and high flow nasal cannula (HFNC). 

The new guidance and further information about neonatal care is available for all to access on our neonatal pages. Our members can also access further information through the neonatal clinical guidance pages.