Caring for your loved ones
How to care for patients with Dysphagia
Ensure comfort and dignity for patients with dysphagia at all times. This also includes considering individual preferences since everyone has a different taste, particularly when it comes to eating and drinking.
- Be aware about the importance of a texture modified diet and the need to follow the prescription.
- Finding the most suitable thickeners for food and drinks or pre-thickened oral nutritional supplements is important.
Easy tips for meal preparation
- Make eating and drinking as enjoyable as possible e.g. consider preferences for flavours.
- Attention to detail and presenting foods/drinks in an appealing way may increase acceptance.
- Use feeding aids that are adjusted to the user’s abilities, e.g. special drinking cups or ergonomic spoons.
Tips for a safe and relaxed meal
- If the patient is able to feed himself, you should encourage him to do so. If he starts to tire, you can help.
- The patient may stop eating, but it could be that he is just tired and not yet full.
- Does the patient prefer to eat in company or alone?
- Can this affect their concentration and therefore the ability to swallow?
- This also applies to distractions like television or Radio.
- The patient should sit as upright as possible, preferably at 90 Degrees.
- Check that the mouth is clean and the dentures are secure before eating/drinking.
- Chose a safe and comfortable place for patient and never make him feel rushed.
- Avoid standing when eat/drink, this may make the patient feel rushed so that they eat/drink faster than they are able to.
- Ensure that patient stays hydrated while eating.
- Maintain eye contact with the patient and smile to create a relaxed environment.
- Avoid talking too much throughout the meal since it may distract the patient – a certain level of interaction is still good and can relax patients.
- The patient should sit upright for at least 30 minutes after the meal to allow food to go down properly and aid digestion.
- If the patient is struggling with the meal, try something different:
- change the portion size
- vary the time of day
- explore how often you feed him until you find a suitable routine