North Auckland, West Auckland > Public Hospital Services > Waitematā District Health Board (WDHB) >

Waitematā DHB Speech Language Therapy - Community

Public Service, Allied Health, Community


8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.


About the Service

Working as part of a multidisciplinary team, community speech-language therapists provide assessment and intervention for patients with communication and or swallowing difficulties.  Interventions are patient centred and are aimed at working towards patient and carer / whānau needs and goals.


Interventions include:

  • Providing swallowing and communication assessment, and advice.
  • Rehabilitation programmes aimed at achieving their desired level of independence, social participation and wellbeing within their environment.
  • Supporting patients in finding ways to compensate for and adapt to their changing communication and swallowing status associated with their medical condition e.g. progressive neurological disorders.


Community speech-language therapists may visit people in their own home/ private hospital/ rest home; see them at a clinic in the community or via video call using a computer/tablet/phone, depending on the patient's needs, covid-19 restrictions and what will achieve the best outcomes.   


Communication and swallowing problems can be caused by lots of health issues including:

  • stroke
  • brain injury
  • degenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease, dementia, and motor-neurone disease
  • respiratory conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and recurrent pneumonia
  • cancer of the head, neck, throat, and brain.


Common Conditions

  • Aphasia

    Aphasia (also referred to as dysphasia) is a disorder of language, where a person's ability to use language to communicate is impaired in some way... More

  • Apraxia

    Apraxia is a disorder of speech (speech is the process of pronunciation and articulation) in which the difficulty involves planning, sequencing, and producing the movements required to make sounds and words... More

  • Dysarthria

    Dysarthria is a disorder of speech (speech is the process of pronunciation and articulation)... More

  • Dysphagia

    Dysphagia is any problem in which the action of swallowing is either difficult to perform, painful, or swallowed material is disrupted somewhere in the passage from the mouth to the stomach... More


Community speech-language therapists are also able to access the services of the regional volunteer stroke scheme.  This service provides volunteers to meet with clients in the community who have communication impairments following a stroke.  These volunteers are trained as 'conversation partners' and use Total Communication Strategies to give the client opportunities to experience effective communication and social interaction.  Patients referred to the scheme by community speech-language therapists may either receive one-to-one visits from a volunteer and/or attend a communication group.  To access the scheme, people must first be assessed and referred by an Auckland Regional DHB speech-language therapist.  

Referral Expectations

According to service specifications provided by the funder, referrals to community speech-language therapy are taken from self or, with the patient's permission:  family/ whānau, GPs, hospital staff, specialists and other health professionals.


Entry Criteria for Adult Community Services

  • People who are at risk of deterioration in health status as a result of swallowing or communication difficulties.
  • People who are compromised in their ability to participate in everyday tasks or activities of choice due to communication or swallowing difficulties.
  • People who may benefit from referral to the Volunteer Stroke Scheme to provide supported communication opportunities (including rest home and private hospital residents).
  • Rest home and private hospital residents who require assessment and advice for a swallowing or communication problem however these require approval from a GP or residential care physician.


Referrals are not accepted for the following:

  • Children under the age of 16 years.
  • Residents living in residential homes / care facilities who require ongoing treatment.
  • ACC patients.
  • Children with a disability who are over 16 and still attend school (seen by Child Development Service).


Please telephone the Referral Screener for all requests, information and advice:
Phone: (09) 486 8945 ext 43222 (8.00am - 4.30pm; Monday to Friday)
Email: (for referrals) 


Referral to the Volunteer Stroke Scheme


People must first be assessed and referred by an Auckland Regional DHB speech-language therapist.

Phone:  (09) 441 8959 ext 43012 or 0800 487 700


Speech Language Therapists at Waitematā DHB also see:


8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

Mon – Fri8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Except on Public Holidays