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Our profession requires a Master's degree in speech-language pathology and registration with the
College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO). The profession is regulated in Ontario by the Regulated Health Professions Act
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) at UHN have expanded their professional scope, and some have medical delegation to size, insert and remove tracheoesophageal voice prosthesis. They might also be delegated to perform nasopharyngeal endoscopy/fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing. Some SLPs have also obtained a medical directive to implement, discontinue and modify diet textures.
The SLP group at UHN is involved and in and many cases has taken the lead in inter-professional collaboration projects. Here are a few examples of SLP involvement:
Spinal Cord Inter-Professional Team Documentation Project: The aim was to improve communication between inter-professional team members about patients in ICU receiving treatment by the Spinal Surgery Team. A new piece of documentation was created to simplify communication.
Care of the Older Person Oral Care Group: This inter-professional working group was led by a speech pathologist. The group designed and implemented educational information about oral care.
At Toronto Western Hospital, SLPs plays a major role in the Hospital Elder Life Program. SLPs train health care colleagues to screen patients for dysphagia and also train volunteers to feed and assist older patients at mealtimes.
SLPs at Toronto Rehab (Bickle Centre) have been involved in a variety of inter-professional projects. The Decannulation Team (RT, SLP, Nursing, ENT, CNE and PT) developed and rolled out a detailed set of guidelines regarding tracheal weaning and decannulation. They also participated in "Enhancing Capacity for Interprofessional Collaboration" (IPCEC) which was a working group aimed at improving interprofessional collaboration in respiratory care (SLP, Nursing, PT, CNE). SLPs, Dentistry, Nursing and Dietetics have also combined forces to develop weekly oral hygiene rounds – focusing on best practice in oral care.
SLP Steve Wilcox (Brain and Spine Program, Toronto Rehab) initiated Animal Assisted Therapy on the Acquired Brain Injury Unit. Working with OT and PT, the dog becomes a conduit for community integration via inter-professional therapies – combining communication with real-life activity.
Tor-BSST (validated swallow screening tool) certified SLPs have supported a team of staff to champion the best practice of early screening for dysphagia after stroke.