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Local NHS Trusts Celebrate European Swallowing Awareness Day
15 March 2017

Local NHS Trusts Celebrate European Swallowing Awareness Day

Brighton and Hove Adult Speech and Language Therapists from Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust joined with colleagues across the NHS to celebrate European Swallowing Awareness Day on Monday 6th March. We aimed to highlight how swallowing difficulties can affect people’s lives and how speech and language therapy transforms negative experiences into positive ones.

Eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties have potentially life-threatening consequences including choking, chest infections, dehydration and malnutrition. Swallowing difficulties can result in avoidable hospital admission and in some cases death. They can also lead to a poorer quality of life for the individual and their family. Speech and language therapists play an important role in supporting people who have eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties (‘dysphagia’) to eat and drink safely. They do this by working directly with individuals or indirectly by training others, including families and the wider health and care workforce, to identify and manage problems.

We held a stand at Brighton train station where members of the public were invited to think about swallowing while eating free snacks and trying out a thickened drink. Members of staff were sponsored to drink only thickened drinks or eat only a puree diet for 24 hours, and raised £155 for the Martlets Hospice. Pictures and stories were shared throughout the day on social media. The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists asked British astronaut Tim Peake to help spread the word and he did so via his Facebook page using the event’s hashtag #swallowaware2017.

See more information about the local community speech and language therapy service and acute speech and language therapy service