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Meet Kate Paterson – Macmillan Highly Specialist Speech & Language Therapist

kate peterson.jpg

Before moving to South Wales at the beginning of 2014, Kate lived and worked in the North West of England as a Speech and Language Therapist.

Kate Paterson, the Health Board’s Macmillan Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist commenced her role at the beginning of March 2014.

Before moving to South Wales at the beginning of 2014, Kate lived and worked in the North West of England as a Speech and Language Therapist.

Since qualifying as an SLT she has worked with older people with acquired swallowing and communication difficulties, both in hospitals, clinics and in their own homes.

Kate said: “I really enjoy working with the client group.

“I have the privilege of meeting and working with older people and the people who care for them.

“As well as having the opportunity to make a difference in their daily lives and on their health outcomes, I enjoy being able to develop the service to be the best it can be for our patients.”

Since coming into the role, Kate has set up a pathway which facilitates the transfer of patients who are discharged from hospital back to care homes, from her SLT colleagues working in hospital to herself working in the community. This ensures patients receive a timely follow-up visit from SLT in their own home, whilst freeing up therapists’ time in the hospital setting to see acutely unwell patients.

She is also developing a training package for staff in care homes.

The training will include information on the causes, signs and symptoms of swallowing problems, and the impact these can have on a person’s health. Strategies around how to help people with swallowing difficulties will also be shared.

By giving staff in care homes increased knowledge and skills, it is hoped that they will be confident in identifying problems at an early stage and therefore make appropriate adjustments to help and, if appropriate, refer to SLT for specialist advice.

A key part of Kate’s role is to offer timely swallowing assessments and give advice around how to make eating and drinking as safe and enjoyable as possible. She is also contributing to a multi-disciplinary project around Advanced Care Planning.

By offering advice before reaching a crisis, or before a person becomes very unwell, and by having discussions about the future in good time, it is hoped that ill health and unnecessary hospital admissions relating to swallowing difficulties will be avoided.

Kate has bases in Keir Hardie University Health Park and Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda and has approximately 45 nursing and care homes to cover in her role.

Kate said: “Despite its many challenges, I think the NHS is a great asset to the UK and I am proud to work within it.

“I have been impressed with Cwm Taf’s aspirations and drive to develop services and think innovatively amidst the current economic climate.”

Source: Cwm Taf University Health Board

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