Helen’s story – being a Speech and Language Therapist during COVID-19
"Whatever people face, we are there to support them and that’s what makes my job so worthwhile.”
“Hello, I am Helen Moores-Poole and I am a Speech and Language Therapist in Dumfries & Galloway. A lot of people presume that speech therapists only work with children, but SLTs support people throughout their lives. We see people in the hospital, in the community, in care homes and day centres.
During the Covid pandemic we’ve been busy working in the hospital with all kinds of patients, in the critical care unit, in palliative care, on the respiratory and rehabilitation wards, supporting people at end of life or helping people to get on the road to regaining their speech or swallowing. It can be a long road to recovery and so we’ve also been supporting people at home and in care homes using digital technology, the new NHS Near Me service, where people can sit in their own homes and talk to one of our therapists or support workers over a video link.
We’ve had to be very flexible and adaptable and do lots of things differently but being able to communicate is a fundamental right and I’ve seen some really touching personal practice – staff on the wards holding up an I-pad for a patient to speak to their daughter or using specialist picture pointing charts for someone unable to speak due to a breathing tube, to help them express an opinion.
I’ve also been supporting people with dementia by writing blogs for Alzheimer Scotland providing information to carers through the charity Dementia Carers Count.
If I’m being honest, at times it’s been scary, overwhelming and exhausting, but I am part of a team and I can absolutely say that every member of the team has played their part in continuing to find new ways to support our patients and each other. Being able to speak, eat and drink is something we take for granted, but it’s complex. I guess you could say SLTs help people keep blethering, supping and nibbling! It really is the stuff of life. Whatever people face, we are there to support them and that’s what makes my job so worthwhile.”
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