Speech therapists mark Dementia Awareness Week with new campaign

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the communication and eating, drinking and swallowing needs of people with dementia.  
 
The campaign, ‘Giving Voice for People with Dementia’, has been prompted because communication problems are particularly challenging in the later stages of dementia. This is one of the most distressing experiences of dementia for family carers. Speech and language therapists work with individuals and family carers throughout the course of dementia to identify communication difficulties and needs, helping them to maintain their interpersonal relationships.
 
They are also able to assess an individual’s ability to understand and to communicate that understanding to improve their choice, degree of control and ability to consent to treatment and care.
 
Kamini Gadhok, RCSLT chief executive, said: “Dementia is one of the biggest health challenges facing the world today and the RCSLT has made it our top priority for 2014 and beyond. Too few people understand the role speech and language therapists have in helping individuals with dementia with communication, eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties, and the support they can provide to carers.
 
“We aim to raise awareness of our role in dementia. Our task is to demonstrate to fellow health professionals, politicians and – most importantly – decision makers and budget holders that we have a vital place in supporting the care of people with dementia, so that our services are properly funded and used appropriately.”

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