Laryngeal dysfunction and rehabilitation in ICU

Laryngeal dysfunction is common in patients with tracheostomies in critical care and impacts communication, swallowing and weaning. Early intervention aims to improve functional outcomes, humanisation of care and quality of life and prevent negative consequences for nutrition, weaning and ability to engage with rehabilitation. This talk will explain the multiple aetiologies of laryngeal dysfunction in critical care, the importance of early assessment, the benefits of FEES (Fibreoptic Endocscopic Evaluation of Swallowing) and the laryngeal rehabilitation approaches which can expedite safe oral feeding and tracheostomy weaning.

Sarah Wallace OBE FRCSLT is a Consultant Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester and honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester. She Is a clinical academic SLT, with internationally recognised expertise in the field of critical illness, and over 30 years of experience as an SLT. After training in Manchester, Sarah worked in hospitals and Non-Government Organisations in the UK, Singapore, Grenada (WI), Cambodia and Chile. In addition to her clinical work in the cardiothoracic, ECMO, burns and general intensive care units at Wythenshawe hospital, Sarah researches the assessment and rehabilitation of laryngeal injury, dysphagia and dysphonia due to intubation and tracheostomy. This work has led to widespread adoption of her approaches into mainstream clinical practice. Sarah has published multiple manuscripts in high impact journals (The Lancet, Anaesthesia, British Journal of Anaesthesia, JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery), including top cited articles and 4 book chapters. She is the national SLT representative on numerous critical care and tracheostomy guidelines and projects including the National Tracheostomy Safety Project. She set up the first FEES service in Asia and the UK and was awarded an OBE in 2020, an RCSLT Fellowship and an honorary Master of Public Health (Plymouth Marjon University) in 2021 for services to the NHS and contribution to her profession.