Helping patients with Dysphagia
Dysphagia affects 50-70% of nursing home residents1 and is estimated to affect 8% of the general population.2 It is essential to know how to care for these patients to avoid potentially life-threatening consequences.
Here you can find helpful advice as well as accredited training to help you care for your patients with dysphagia and reduce the risks of aspiration and other dysphagia related issues.
Tips and tricks
When caring for a patient who suffers from dysphagia, it is important to ensure you do all that you can to maintain their comfort and their dignity at all times. Remember, everyone is different and has varied preferences, particularly when it comes to eating and drinking. Talk to your patients and consider their preferences when helping them to eat and drink.
Consider the environment – does your patient prefer to eat in the company of others or alone? Can this affect their concentration and therefore ability to swallow? This also applies to having the television or radio on.
Make sure that your patient is sitting as upright as possible, preferably at 90 degrees.
Check their mouth to ensure that it is clean and clear and that any dentures are secure before eating or drinking.
Ensure your patient is relaxed and at ease. If your patient is feeling stressed around eating or drinking, this can increase the risk of aspiration.
If your patient can feed themselves, then you should encourage them to do so. If they start to tire, you can take over the control of the spoon – they may stop eating, but it could be that they are just tired and not yet full.
Never stand over a patient while helping them to eat or drink. Sit next to them – standing over somebody can feel intimidating and may give the impression that you are in a rush and they should eat, or drink faster than they are able.
Maintain eye contact with the patient and smile to create a relaxed environment. Avoid talking too much throughout the meal – a level of interaction is good and can relax patients, but it may distract them from the task at hand.
Ensure that patients are taking regular sips of water while eating.
Make sure that you are going at a safe and comfortable pace for patient and never make them feel rushed.
Make sure that your patient remains sitting upright for at least 30 minutes after the meal to allow food to go down properly and aid digestion.
If the patient’s meals are not working for them. Try something different: change the portion size, time of day or how often you feed them until you find a routine that suits them.
Become a Hydration Angel
We are piloting a scheme of volunteers who are able to go into hospitals and/or care homes, and encourage those in need to drink as much as they should be.
If you can spare an hour or two a week and think this is something you may be able to do, then please click the link and enter your details to register your interest. You will be contacted by a member of the Hydration Angels team and hopefully join us to help hydrate the nation and make a dramatic difference to peoples care.
Add level measured thickener into empty, dry glass
Measure the desired amount of liquid.
Add liquid quickly while stirring briskly with a whisk or fork, until dissolved.
Step 1. Add level measured thickener into empty, dry glass.
Step 2. Measure the desired amount of liquid.
Step 3. Add liquid quickly while stirring briskly with a whisk or fork, until dissolved.
The new IDDSI framework
The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) has developed a standardised terminology to describe texture-modified foods and thickened liquids used by people with dysphagia.
We have developed a comprehensive range of Thick & Easy Clear guides to help with your transition to the new IDDSI framework. All of which are available to download here, or should you require printed versions, please contact your Fresenius Kabi representative.
Latest IDDSI News
Latest IDDSI News