Standards of Practice for Speech and Language Therapists on the Management of Feeding, Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Disorders: Working with Neonates and Babies.

Standards of Practice for Speech and Language Therapists on the Management of Feeding, Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Disorders: Working with Neonates and Babies.

Standards of Practice for Speech and Language Therapists on the Management of Feeding, Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Disorders: Working with Neonates and Babies,

This document is intended for consultation by:

  • Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs)
  • Managers/service providers to help establish baselines for practice and assist skill development in teams and to justify funding and development of services.
  • Supervisors and Mentors for SLTs acquiring skills in this clinical area.
  • SLTs new to working with this population.
  • Undergraduate students as a source of information
  • Other groups such as service users and other members of the multidisciplinary team

Internationally, more than 1 in 10 babies are born preterm. Early, preterm infants may require nasogastric feeding during their early weeks and months. Many other babies will have either congenital or acquired conditions which can have an impact on FEDS skills. SLTs have a pivotal role as part of a multidisciplinary team in providing assessments and interventions that support these babies and their parents in safe tube weaning and establishing their FEDS skills. There are many strands and contexts to the role of the SLT in managing FEDS difficulties in Infants. This document addresses the following themes raised by SLTs in a survey conducted by IASLT.

  • Working in a non-hospital setting including disability, primary care and progressing disability settings: SLT roles, multidisciplinary team liaison, medical support in these settings and interface with acute services
  • An up-to-date evidence base for assessment and intervention
  • Competencies and skill levels to be revised, including caution in use of the term ‘advanced’
  • Risk management
  • Ethical issues
  • Aversive feeders
  • Tube weaning guidelines
  • Onward referral criteria
  • Prognostic indicators
  • Discharge criteria