13 March 2023
Swallowing Awareness Day raises awareness of dysphagia and the role of speech and language therapists in helping people living with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. It is taking place on 15 March 2023, as part of NHS Nutrition and Hydration Week (13 – 19 March).
Eating, drinking and swallowing is an essential part of most people’s day and is often taken for granted, but for some people it is not that easy. Dysphagia, or eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties, can affect a person’s quality of life and can lead to other health complications. This is why speech and language therapists (SLTs) have a pivotal role in this area.
This Swallowing Awareness Day, why not join us in raising awareness of the important work SLTs all over the world do to support those living with dysphagia.
Role of speech and language therapy
Dysphagia can be found in all stages of life, including in infants, children, young people and adults. It often occurs with other health conditions, such as being born prematurely, having learning disabilities, dementia and stroke.
If not treated appropriately, dysphagia can lead to other health complications, reduced quality of life, and potentially life-threatening consequences.
Speech and language therapists play a key role in the identification and management of dysphagia. They:
- have a unique role in the diagnosis of dysphagia
- help people regain their swallowing through rehabilitation
- promote patient safety through modifications to the eating, drinking and swallowing process, reducing the risk of malnutrition, dehydration and choking
- promote quality of life, delivering care in line with the individuals’ and families’ preferences and beliefs, and helping them adjust to living with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties
- work with other healthcare staff, particularly dietitians, to optimise nutrition and hydration
- educate and train others in identifying, assessing and managing dysphagia .
As well as improving quality of life and mental and physical wellbeing, speech and language therapy for those with dysphagia also produces economic benefits and savings for the wider health economy, including through reducing avoidable hospital admissions.
Raise awareness about dysphagia and the role of SLTs
Learn more about the important work SLTs do in helping those with dysphagia.