The Development and Implementation of a Speech Pathology First Point of Contact Clinic for the Management of Respiratory Outpatients Presenting with a Chronic Cough

Dr Chloe Walton1, Dr Timothy Ryder1, Mrs Marnie Seabrook1

1Queensland Health, Meadowbrook, Australia

Chronic Cough (CC) has a significant impact on quality of life. When a cough without apparent lung disease is refractory to standard treatments, patients are frequently referred to a Respiratory Physician, often waiting more than a year to be reviewed. Several of the common causes of Chronic Cough relate to upper airway disorders and Speech Pathology intervention is effective in managing several of these conditions. A Speech Pathology Chronic Cough – First Point of Contact (SP CC-FPOC) clinic was developed under the supervision of the Respiratory Department to manage low risk CC patients.

To improve the timeliness of CC management in a hospital outpatient setting and to determine the feasibility of a SP CC-FPOC clinic using service and consumer data.

After triaging referrals and performing spirometry, up to 80 participants with CC were delegated to the CC-FPOC clinic and underwent Speech Pathology assessment to determine the likely cause of their cough. The patients were then provided with tailored management of their cough that was reviewed by a Respiratory Physician and then removed from the Respiratory waiting list.

It is anticipated that the SP CC-FPOC clinic will: a) provide timely access to services, b) reduce cough symptoms, c) improve quality of life, d) maximize specialist allied health services and d) reduce waiting lists for specialist services.

This new model of service delivery will likely demonstrate service and consumer feasibility for speech pathology to effectively and safely manage a cohort of patients who present with chronic cough.


Dr Walton is an A/Advanced Speech Pathologist (Outpatients) at Logan Hospital. She has over 10 years of clinic experience in an outpatient setting where she works with voice and swallowing disorders. She has taught undergraduate and post-graduate speech pathology students in the assessment and treatment of voice disorders including: ACU, SCU & Griffith University. Her research specialises in the assessment and treatment of voice disorders both organic and functional, models of service delivery and dosage of treatment. She has contributed to the publication of several articles, a book chapter, several conference presentations and was fortunate to receive AVA Student Encouragement Award for her contributions to voice research.

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