- To raise money for our fantastic SLT-run after-stroke group, Speakeasy; which, like so many of these invaluable groups, receives no funding. Most members of Speakeasy had experienced diet modification following their stroke. Our initial goal was £500.
- To put ourselves in the shoes of our patients and develop a greater level of empathy so to become better clinicians.
- To *give voice* in Stroke Awareness Month by raising awareness of dysphagia, stroke and speech and language therapy
- At the time of writing we had raised a whopping £1,175! The speakeasy members, organisers and us students would like to thank everybody who helped us to reach this amount. The money raised will go towards paying members transport fees to group and hopefully contribute to funding the first ever Speakeasy overnight UK trip, which we estimate will cost about £6000. Speakeasy usually relies on one of the SLTs jumping in the North Sea to raise money so hopefully this was some welcome relief for Kathryn!
- I would argue that without personally experiencing the restrictions of a modified diet it is impossible to truly comprehend the impact that this has for a patient and their partners/care-givers. We did this in the comfort of our own homes while feeling (initially) physically and mentally healthy. The patient hospital experience will be very different still. Although I tried to eat three meals a day, I was rarely able to finish meals and was sometimes sick following a meal. In five days I lost five pounds, and like other members found my energy and mood decline quickly over this short period: I lost interest in food and having previously described myself as someone who ‘lives to eat’ as opposed to ‘eating to live’, I felt a part of my identity and passion had been lost. In order to try and avoid what I have just described please see the food enjoyment recommendations below.
Mash Mission offered valuable opportunities for discussion: one clinician felt able to discuss discrepancies between paediatric and adult dysphagia service provision in her area in that community services are not funded for the former, though needed. The more people engage in these important discussions, the more likely we are as a community of speech and language therapy professionals to generate change.
- Support the Giving Voice Campaign by championing speech and language therapy as a profession amongst colleagues.
- Become more aware of Speakeasy and of the diversity of communication problems facing people following stroke and the impact this has on the person and their family.
- Hear views of group members regarding service provision following stroke and what is needed now.
Blaise, M. (2009). Mealtime Experiences of Hospitalized Older Patients Requiring a Puree Consistency Diet. University of Montreal: Montreal, QC.