10 March 2022
Swallowing Awareness Day is a time to raise awareness of how speech and language therapists help people living with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. This year it takes place on 16 March 2022, as part of NHS Nutrition and Hydration Week (14 – 20 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 the work SLTs do in this area is essential and we’re working to raise the profile of the SLT role.
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 and 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.
- Have a unique role in the diagnosis of dysphagia
- Help people regain their swallowing through exercises, techniques and positioning
- Promote patient safety through modifying the texture of food and fluids, reducing the risk of malnutrition, dehydration and choking
- Promote quality of life, taking into account an individual’s and their families’ preferences and beliefs, and helping them adjust to living with 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.
Download posters to put up around your workspace and graphics to share on social media on our Swallowing Awareness Day 2022 page.
Posters and social media graphics to raise awareness of how SLTs help people living with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties