Feeding Tools to Help with Dysphagia
Help you or a loved one improve eating and drinking with these 5 feeding tools
Dysphagia is defined as the difficulty to swallow, eat and drink as well as a wider range of decreased abilities.
Many medical conditions may impact the ability to eat safely such as Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis.
Difficulty to self-feed: Decreased ability to hold utensils or initiate the movement to bring food to the mouth because of the loss of coordination or decreased cognition.
Difficulty to chew: Decreased ability to break down the food in smaller pieces, to form a bolus, and to place the food at the right spot in the mouth to swallow. This could be related to poor dental condition, loss of muscle coordination or decreased cognition.
Difficulty to swallow: Decreased ability to bring food from the mouth to the stomach as well as decreased ability to properly close the airway due to loss of muscle strength, coordination or decreased cognition.
Many different tips and tools may be used to help improve the safety and ability to eat. Consulting a professional such as an Occupational Therapist, will often decreased the pain and promote an adequate position to reduce the chances of aspiration (particles going in the airways). Dietitians will often recommend alterations to the food texture or fluid consistency to limit the need for chewing food and decrease the amount in the mouth.
The nosey cup’s shape prevents the nose from interfering with the cup so that the individual doesn’t have to tilt the head back, protecting the airway and increasing hydration.
Gripable Bendable Utensils
The larger handle promotes better grip. The utensil can also be bent in any angle, left or right, to reduce the need to move the wrist and arm.
Many different types of placemats may be purchased with all the same purpose; limiting the plates and cups to slide on the table. The contrast in colour also improves appetite and helps people with vision impairment.
Inside Edge Plate
Also known as a lip plate, this plate has a thick edge that prevents food from sliding off to improve independence. Plates are also available in colour to improve appetite and help people with vision impairment.
Regulating Drinking Cup
Available in 5 or 10 mL, this cup delivers a fixed amount of liquid with every motion. Typically used for individuals with dementia who are drinking too much, too fast and have a difficulty to swallow. May cause some frustration.
Don’t go through the journey alone – get support from a Dysphagia Dietitian. Having adequate support will help you, or your loved one to eat safely and increase independence.
Looking for support from a private practice Dysphagia Dietitian?
We can assist you to help support dementia, dysphagia and eating or swallowing issues. For more information on our personal nutrition counseling support, click the button below.
If you enjoyed this article, make sure to visit these previous articles on our blog!
Olivier Yergeau is a Registered Dietitian in Prince George, British Columbia.