This article presents a scoping review of the research literature on the role of speech and language therapists in palliative care settings. The researchers conducted a search using several electronic databases focusing on palliative, terminal and end of life (EOL) literature around dysphagia, communication or cognitive difficulties in adults published at any time. After examining and excluding papers that did not fit the inclusion criteria, 13 articles remained for further scrutiny. These articles were sorted and coded by the three authors to identify the main issues and recommendations raised in the articles. Four thematic categories were identified: the importance of speech and language therapy guidelines at EOL care; communication interventions in palliative and EOL care; oral feeding and EOL care; and concerns and considerations for implementation of speech and language therapy practice in palliative care. The article concludes that speech and language therapists are influential and important in assisting in EOL decisions and advance care plans where communication and swallowing are involved. The authors advocate for more research in the area to support future clinical practice guidelines. They highlight that it is often difficult to establish services without guidelines and in turn difficult to establish guidelines without research. Such guidelines can support the development of new services and reduce the inequities in service provision. The forthcoming NICE SCIE guidelines on decision making and mental capacity will be published in the near future. These may prove a useful springboard for the speech and language therapists to establish their role in EOL care.

The role of speech-language pathologists in adult palliative care.
Chahda C, Mathisen BA, Carey LB.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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