A+ | A- | Home Page | Sitemap--> | Other Languages | Search:

Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech- Language Pathologists provide diagnostic, intervention and referral services to patients with communication and swallowing disorders within the Speech-Language Pathology Unit, in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Rules of Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) and the philosophy and objective of the Authority to overcome and prevent difficulties with language, speech, voice, fluency, and swallowing disorders.

The Speech-Language Pathologist works with patients of all ages who have speech, language, voice, fluency and/or swallowing delays or disorders. These disorders may be secondary to loss of hearing, head injury, FAS, FAE, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy or Down Syndrome, among other causes. Types of care delivered may include, but are not limited to: designing and teaching patient specific augmentative communication, improving articulation and/or language skills, improving fluency, etc. The focus of the therapy is to maximize and maintain the patient's ability to succeed in academic, professional and social settings as well as to improve the patient's quality of life.

The Speech-Language Pathologist evaluates the patient's needs based on presenting difficulties with communication and/or swallowing. The Speech-Language Pathologist designs and implements a treatment plan that meets the specific needs of the patient, keeping in mind evidence-based information, relevant best practice and clinical expertise. The treatment plan contains, but is not limited to, identifying other necessary resources (both human and material) and educational needs (i.e. augmentative communication), cost effective intervention strategies and discharge planning. The Speech-Language Pathologist may recommend further diagnostic investigation or cross referral to other health care providers (i.e., ENT Specialists, Pediatricians, Social Workers, Audiologists, Occupational Therapists, etc).

Responsibilities of a Speech-Language Pathologist:

  1. The Speech-Language Pathologist provides direct assessment, diagnosis and treatment to a wide variety of patients (pre-school to geriatric) requiring speech-language pathology services, using a problem solving approach, and in accordance with the standards, guidelines and scope of speech-language pathology to facilitate individualized patient care.
  2. Develops, modifies, coordinates and facilitates education/teaching based on the needs of the patient, families, care givers and other stakeholders.
  3. Arranges travel clinics to provide care to residents of the smaller communities within the NWT and Nunavut (Kitikmeot Region).
  4. Advocates practice environments that have the organizational and resource allocations necessary for safe, competent and ethical care.

Common Duties:

  • Evaluates patients' needs for speech-language pathology services.
  • Assesses communication and swallowing disorders and diagnoses, implements, documents and modifies intervention as necessary to ensure a coordinated holistic approach that best meets the needs of the patient.
  • Assists patients in achieving and maintaining their maximum communication and swallowing capacity.
  • Advocates the dignity and self-respect of patients.
  • Promotes the autonomy of patients and help them to express their health needs and values, to obtain appropriate information and services.
  • Safeguards the trust of patients that information learned in the context of a professional relationship is shared outside the health care team only with the patient's permission or as legally required.
  • Applies and promotes principles of equity and fairness to assist patients in receiving unbiased treatment and a share of health services and resources proportionate to their needs.
  • Acts in a manner consistent with their professional responsibilities and standards of practice.
  • Uses a holistic approach to facilitate individual learning of patients and, where applicable, their families upon transfer, discharge or during appointments in relation to patient illness or injury (i.e. self-management/care, health promotion, etc.).
  • Assesses the patient's knowledge of their health, injury, impairment and learning needs.
  • Counsels clients, families, caregivers, etc regarding all aspects of communication and/or swallowing disorders.
  • Provides on-going community education and health promotion including public education material and workshops within the communities.
  • Develops, revises and evaluates, on an ongoing basis, educational resources necessary to support patients.
  • Coordinates community clinics and collaborates with community healthcare staff and other stakeholders to determine schedule, caseload, services, and follow-up.
  • Provides aftercare programs (treatment plans) for community patients.
  • Provides necessary training to the patient, family, nurses and other health care staff regarding client programming.
  • Monitors delivery of services delegated to community health care staff. Collaborates with physicians, nurses and other members of the health care team to advocate health care environments that are conducive to ethical practice and to the health and well-being of patients and others in the setting.
  • Provides coaching and leadership to peers, students and other members of the health care team to develop skill levels necessary to achieve the standard of care.
  • Refers patients/clients to other health providers when appropriate.
  • Provides orientation of new employees to services and mandate.
  • Provides information and recommendations on capital expenditures.
  • Participates in committees, task teams, and research projects as required.
  • Provides consultation and professional opinion on diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of conditions affecting communication and swallowing to other health care providers (i.e. ENT, Pediatricians, family physicians, community health nurses, etc.).
  • Designing and training others to use alternative communication systems (such as a speech computer).