Purpose of review
Head and neck cancer (HNC) and its treatment impacts profoundly on patients’ functional abilities, emotional well being and social interactions. Communication and swallowing are fundamental to everyday life, and the Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) has a critical role for both patients and their carers. In clinical practice, patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are a key part of the armamentarium of the SLT. The purpose of the review is to summarize how these measures can be beneficial in the context of time pressured SLT outpatient consultations.
Unmet needs in HNC are common and impact negatively on quality of life. There is an ever-increasing number of articles in this area, and it can be a challenge to identify, distil and summarize those specific to SLT.
In this review, we discuss the scope of holistic evaluation, strengths and limitations of PROMs, the Patient Concerns Inventory-Head and Neck, barriers to the use of outcome measures, the carers perspective and surveillance. SLT are uniquely placed members of the multidisciplinary team and provide expert advice and intervention. The inclusion of PROMs in routine consultations provides a model of follow up, which helps address patients and carers complex and unmet needs, ultimately promoting better outcomes.