Speech-language pathology in paediatric palliative care: A scoping review of role and practice Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE:Attempts have been made within the literature to clarify the role and scope of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) within paediatric palliative care (PPC). As SLP literature regarding adult/geriatric populations is gaining traction, it is fitting to investigate the role of SLPs in the management of infants and children in end-of-life care. METHOD:Arksey and O'Malley's ( 2005 ) scoping review method was utilised for searching multiple databases. Two database searches were undertaken. The first located literature in which SLP PPC intervention is specifically addressed. The second search utilised internationally recognised SLP scope of practice areas. Manual searching of reference lists was also utilised. RESULT:Themes identified included management of communication, feeding, upper-airway and oral health as well as the role of SLPs within a multidisciplinary PPC team. CONCLUSION:There is acknowledgement that SLPs have a role in PPC. However, there is little information identifying SLP involvement in the diagnosis and management of swallowing, cognition/communication, oral hygiene and upper airway issues. The available literature predominantly relies on limited adult palliative care research and does not address age-specific management approaches across the paediatric life-stage. Given an absence of SLP PPC guidelines, further research is warranted to explicitly define SLP scope of practice within this population.

publication date

  • 2018