Speech pathology | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

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 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
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