- ‘Dysphagia’ is difficulty with swallowing.
- Dysphagia is associated with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions.
- Training and knowledge about identifying and managing swallowing problems can minimise risks of serious health complications and improve a person’s mealtime-related quality of life.
What is dysphagia?
Dysphagia is a medical term for any difficulty with swallowing. People with dysphagia have difficulty swallowing and may even experience pain while swallowing. Some people may be completely unable to swallow or may have trouble safely swallowing liquids, foods, or saliva. When that happens, eating becomes a challenge. Often, dysphagia makes it difficult to take in enough calories and fluids to nourish the body. A range of disabilities and medical conditions are associated with dysphagia, such as congenital syndromes, neuromuscular dysfunctions such as cerebral palsy, neurological disorders such as stroke, cancer, and chronic lung disease. Symptoms include: difficulty biting or chewing on food, coughing or choking on food or fluid, and food or drink falling from a person’s mouth. Find more possible signs and symptoms of dysphagia HERE.
Interchange Employee Training
At Interchange, all staff receives training to gain and improve their knowledge on how to safely help the people they support who may have dysphagia. It is important to us that all staff understand how to identify and respond to early signs and symptoms of dysphagia and how to support the person to have safe and enjoyable meals. Training and knowledge about identifying and managing swallowing problems can minimise risks of serious health complications and improve a person’s mealtime-related quality of life.
Besides providing our staff with learning modules and peer shifts to really get to know the person they support and their needs before commencing their role, Interchange has Mealtime Management Plans in place for each customer who requires it.
A Mealtime Management Plan is written in accordance with the input of a health professional and includes safe seating positions for mealtimes, specific mealtime assistance techniques, measures on how to respond to coughing or choking, a guide on how to use the equipment for people who have severe dysphagia and any other measures to keep a person we support safe during mealtime.
For any questions regarding this topic and how Interchange supports people with dysphagia please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below.
NDIS Commission Practice Alert: Dysphagia, safe swallowing, and mealtime management, (2020) https://www.ndiscommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020-11/practice-alert-dysphagia-safe-swallowing-and-mealtime-management.pdf
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, (2010), https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/dysphagia
Let’s start a conversation
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