Objectives: To examine a sample of adults with mental health disorders attending at an area psychiatric service, for the presence of impairments in language, communication and swallowing, using a test battery administered by speech and language therapists.
Method: The study surveyed a randomly selected sample (n = 60) of patients from an acute psychiatric inpatient unit and associated community services, using several standardised measures of language, communication and swallowing.
Results: On this test battery, over 80% (50/60) of subjects studied demonstrated impairment in language; while over 60% (37/60) presented with impairment in communication and discourse. Over 30% (18/58) of subjects assessed showed some impairment in swallowing.
Conclusion: Use of this test battery confirmed the presence of language, communication and swallowing impairments in many patients in this sample of attenders at a general psychiatry service. We suggest that this study provides evidence for a (currently unmet) need for specialist speech and language therapy assessment and support among this patient population.