A significant proportion of stroke patients experience dysphagia1. It can also be associated with conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.2
Dysphagia can impact on a person's ability to consume adequate nutrition for a number of reasons, including:
As a result of these nutritional challenges, people who experience dysphagia can find it hard to get the nutrition they need, and malnutrition and dehydration can occur.
Good nutrition is important to avoid malnutrition and dehydration. Providing a variety of foods that have an appetising appearance and including additional energy, protein, vitamins and minerals where possible can help to optimise nutritional intake. Providing a range of hot and cold drinks throughout the day can help to prevent dehydration.
Ensuring food and fluids are the correct texture is essential in the management of dysphagia. Food and fluid thickeners can be used to thicken drinks and pureed meals to the recommended consistency that has been prescribed by the speech and language therapist (SLT).
Healthcare professionals may prescribe pre-thickened oral nutritional supplements for those with dysphagia who cannot get adequate nutrition from diet alone. They come in a range of flavours and provide additional energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.
*IDDSI = International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative
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