Speech Pathologists work with people who have difficulty with:

  • Swallowing – this may mean it is difficult to chew, to control food or drink in their mouths, to initiate a swallow, to move food or drink through their throat easily or feel like they choke when they swallow.
  • Communication – this may mean it is difficult for people to express themselves as clearly as they would like to or understand what is being said to them.

 

At Chris O’Brien Lifehouse the Speech Pathology service offers:

  • Assessment, diagnosis and treatment for problems with communication and swallowing problems
  • Specialised assessment and management of swallowing problems using Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES).
  • Education and counselling to family and carers to facilitate partnerships in care for individuals
  • Provides training and support to other members of the care team, the individual and caregivers
  • Work with people who have a tracheostomy – to support communication and promote safe swallowing
  • Work with people who are going to have or have had a laryngectomy – to optimise communication, swallowing and breathing
  • Liaise with external providers as needed

 

Communication and Swallowing problems can be due to a number of different things e.g.:

  • Cancer affecting the head and neck
  • Cancer affecting other parts of the body
  • Tracheostomy tubes which help with breathing
  • Neurological conditions such as stroke or dementia
  • Respiratory disorders which effect breathing
  • Age related changes

 

What services are available at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse:

  • Inpatient care during your admission
  • Outpatient clinics with other members of the multidisciplinary team
  • Outpatient laryngectomy and head and neck cancer services
  • Outpatient swallowing, speech and voice therapy

 


Referrals

Referrals for inpatient services are accepted from the treating medical team, nursing staff, allied health, the individual or caregivers.

Referrals for outpatient services are accepted from the treating medical officer.

 

Referrals should include:

  • Relevant clinical history for the patient
  • The reason for referral
  • Patient details including address, date of birth and contact numbers
  • Your provider number
  • Your name and contact details

Emma Charters

Emma has worked in several tertiary acute hospitals in the Sydney region since graduating from the University of Sydney. She has worked extensively in hospital, rehabilitation and community settings for swallowing and communication disorders across various caseloads, however most recently has specialised in oncology care. Emma has attained advanced competencies in fibreoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing, videofluroscopy, nasendoscopy, tracheostomy and laryngectomy. She is also has conducted a systematic review into electronic portable assistive devices (e.g. smart phones and apps) to aid communication in everyday life. Emma has commenced a Masters of Research through the University of Sydney investigating the dosage effects of radiotherapy to the head and neck regions for swallowing function during and post treatment.

Emma Charters
Speech Pathologist
Phone: 8514 0210
Emma.Charters@lh.org.au