The delivery and measurement of the outcomes associated with speech and language therapy is an essential component of delivering effective and high-quality services.
This page provides resources about outcome measurement, including information about the RCSLT Online Outcomes Tool (ROOT) and the role of outcome measurement in speech and language therapy.
If you’re a speech and language therapist, please sign up or log in to access the full version of this content.
Outcome measurement in speech and language therapy
- Delivering evidence-based and person-centred services.
- Evaluating clinical effectiveness and supporting quality improvement.
- Demonstrating the impact of speech and language therapy.
- Standards of conduct, performance and ethics.
- Standards of proficiency – speech and language therapists.
- Standards of continuing professional development.
HCPC standards stipulate that registrants are “able to evaluate intervention plans using recognised outcome measures and revise the plans as necessary in conjunction with the service user” (HCPC 2013:11).
The HCPC also expects registrants to “be aware of the role of audit and review in quality management, including quality control, quality assurance and the use of appropriate outcome measures” (HCPC 2013:11).
RCSLT Online Outcome Tool (ROOT)
The RCSLT is working to support its members to improve the systematic collection of outcomes data and to assist with demonstrating the impact of therapy for individuals with speech, language, communication and swallowing needs.
As part of a programme of work on outcomes, the RCSLT has developed and piloted an online tool to support the collection of Therapy Outcome Measures (TOMs) (Enderby and John, 2015; Enderby and John, 2019). TOMs was selected as the ‘best fit’ tool after a systematic evaluation of available measures.
What is the ROOT?
The RCSLT Online Outcome Tool (ROOT) supports SLTs with collecting and collating TOMs data and generating reports.
The reports generated by the ROOT can be used by SLTs to inform clinical decision-making and offer the potential to demonstrate the impact of speech and language therapy interventions for individual service users and cohorts of service users.
Aggregated reports can be used to assist with service evaluation and quality assurances purposes, and to inform those funding speech and language therapy services.
Access the ROOT
Any UK speech and language therapy service can register to use the ROOT.
We’ve also created a collection of publications, resources and useful links related to the tool within the resources pages.
We are continuing to develop the tool in response to feedback. For more information, please contact ROOT@rcslt.org.
Enderby P, John A (2015) Therapy outcome measures for rehabilitation professionals, Third Edition. Guildford: J&R Press Ltd.
Enderby P, John A (2019) Therapy Outcome Measure User Guide. Croydon: J&R Press Ltd.
Summary of recommendations
To support best practice in relation to outcome measurement, it is recommended that speech and language therapists are aware of the importance of:
- The routine measurement of the outcomes of therapy, using an appropriate approach and tools.
- The use of validated outcome measurement tools.
- Capturing the service user’s perspective on their outcomes and their experience of care.
- Using outcome data in the context of other data and alongside other available tools, frameworks and resources, to support the delivery of quality services.
- Outcome measurement being embedded within a model of working that emphasises the need for reflection, and that holds the notion of health benefits and outcomes as an integral part of practice.