Skip to Content

Speech Pathology

Overview

The Inpatient Speech Pathology staff conducts swallow evaluations to determine if a patient is able to safely swallow, determining the appropriate diet textures and how much supervision the patient needs to maintain swallow precautions. Follow-up may consist of direct treatment, patient or caregiver education, appropriate resources, and/or follow-up after discharge. A Modified Barium Swallow may be indicated, either as an inpatient or outpatient, to more accurately assess for “aspiration,” which is food or liquid going down the wrong pipe, often without the patient’s knowledge, and may lead to aspiration pneumonia. In addition, we are performing Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallow with Sensory Testing (FEESST)—and are one of the first hospitals in the Seattle area to do so.

Speech pathologists also evaluate and treat speech, language, voice and cognitive impairments, and provide recommendations for appropriate follow-up after discharge from the hospital. For example, a patient who suffers a stroke may have a resulting impairment in understanding what is said to him, have difficulty finding the words to express himself, and/or may have speech that is difficult to understand.

We work in conjunction with nursing, physicians, other therapies and social work to provide appropriate therapy during a patient’s hospital stay, and to ensure a safe discharge.

Our outpatient staff serves the adult population, offering evaluation and treatment for speech, language, voice cognition and swallowing (Note: our staff serves adolescents on a limited basis). We have an LSVT-certified therapist on staff and utilize a Visi-Pitch machine for bio feedback.

New Grad and Student Programs

We are privileged to participate with the University of Washington’s Medical Speech Pathology master’s degree program, through which graduate students are being trained to enter the field well-equipped to work in medical settings.

Staff Details

We offer opportunities not typically found in an acute hospital, including work with: the Specialty School where speech/language therapy is provided to students with special needs; the Radiation Oncology Department where we see patients with head and neck cancers; hearing screenings for patients receiving IV drugs that are known to impact their hearing; and Outpatient Rehabilitation.

We foster employee satisfaction and clinical excellence through continuing education, encouraging the learning of new skills, and by supporting one another in challenging situations. We meet to discuss journal articles and to share new information from conferences. In addition, we offer flexibility in staffing to support a healthy work-life balance.

Education Support

Each staff member belongs to the American Speech and Hearing Association’s Special Interest Division #13 (Swallowing Disorders), which fosters professional growth based on evidence-based practice. We meet regularly to discuss topics in these self-study modules. In addition, each staff member belongs to an additional Special Interest Division, and shares those learning opportunities with the rest of the staff.

Each year, one staff member is sent to the American Speech and Hearing Association national convention. Staff often attend Grand Rounds at the University of Washington.

Work Hours/Shifts

Day shifts, inpatient position includes holidays and weekends.

Number of Employees & FTEs

There are seven speech pathologists on staff, including per diem, varying FTEs.

Our goal is to be the best Speech Pathology Department in the State of Washington, attracting the best candidates, retaining our staff, supporting professional growth and building new programs.