The Role of Speech-Language Pathologists in Adult Palliative Care in Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose: This research explored the role of Australian Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) to identify SLP experiences and practices regarding adult palliative care (PC) management.Method: Utilising mixed methods, phase one comprised a literature scoping review of SLP practices in PC. Phase two involved a survey compiling demographic data of Australian SLPs working in adult PC. Phase three involved in-depth interviews exploring SLP experiences in PC.Result: It was found that minimal resources or published literature existed regarding SLPs in PC, however the available literature indicated SLPs can be valuable and influential members of a PC team. Interviewed SLPs acknowledged their proficiency in end-of-life communication and swallowing, nevertheless initially they felt ill-prepared given insufficient knowledge or skills to manage palliative cases based upon their tertiary education and were poorly supported once in the field given a lack of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs). Participants also noted a lack of knowledge among medical, nursing and allied health clinicians about a SLP's contribution to PC, causing barriers for SLPs being professionally accepted within palliative environments.Conclusion: Recommendations included the development of improved resources specifically about SLP practice in end-of-life care, the need for greater exposure at the tertiary level of SLP palliative care practices, and CPGs for SLPs working in adult palliative care.

publication date

  • 2020