Auckland DHB Allied Health Services - Speech Language Therapy
Public Service, Community
The Community Speech-Language Therapy (SLT) team provides assessment, treatment and management for adults with communication and/or swallowing problems in order to help them reach and maintain their potential. Therapists typically see people who have:
- Communication difficulties: these include understanding what is being said, finding the correct words to say, slurred speech, reading and writing.
- Swallowing problems: these include difficulty swallowing food or liquids, poor saliva control; choking; food sticking in throat; suspected aspiration.
- These communication and swallowing difficulties can be the result of stroke, traumatic brain injury, cancer and degenerative neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neuron disease and dementia.
Therapists work closely with clients, their family/whānau, caregivers and other health professionals to offer services such as:
- Individual and group therapy programmes, including therapy exercises and compensatory strategies.
- Training communication partners for successful communication interactions.
- Developing alternative communication systems where appropriate.
- Completing Videofluoroscopic Swallow Studies (VFSS).
- Referral to other agencies and organisations for ongoing support (e.g. the Volunteer Stroke Scheme, Stroke Foundation, Parkinson's Society, Motor Neuron Disease Association, AphasiaNZ and University Clinics).
What to expect: After your referral is received and approved, you will be contacted either by phone call or letter to indicate when you can expect an appointment. All referrals are prioritised in terms of urgency. You will then be contacted to arrange an initial appointment. The appointment with either be in your home, in a clinic or via telehealth and can be up to one hour.
On the first visit, the therapist will assess you to ascertain the nature and extent of your difficulty, and to establish your goals for intervention. If you have a swallowing difficulty, the therapist may need to see you eating and drinking as part of their initial assessment. You may find it helpful to have a family member or support person with you during an appointment.
Following the initial assessment a plan for intervention will be discussed with you and your family members/carers. If your first language is not English, then an interpreter may also be present during the sessions.
FAQS: How often/how many times will a SLT see a client? Frequency and the length of time clients will be seen will be determined by their individual needs/situation.
Do I attend an outpatient clinic?
If you cannot access our clinic, we can see you in your own home, at a rest home, private hospital or retirement village apartment.
How to access the service: Referrals to the community SLT team can be sent by appropriate health professionals e.g. GP, Practice Nurse, specialist doctor or by services that support you e.g. care agencies, Stroke Foundation, Parkinson’s Society etc. All relevant information needs to be included in the referral. If the referral is made by anyone other than your GP, then the GP may be contacted for a medical update.
They send your referral through an e-referral system, or if unavailable, to . You may telephone 0800 631 1234 with any questions.