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Discover some mealtime positioning tips for patients with dysphagia
Part of our Top Tips series for dysphagia management
Sit upright in erect position
Make sure people with dysphagia are sitting as upright as possible – prop them up with pillows if they are unable to sit erect themselves.
Head tilted forward / chin down
Ask them to tilt their head forward with their chin slightly forward. It is often believed that it is best to get people with dysphagia to tilt their head back to open the passage down to the oesophagus, but this actually makes it more difficult to swallow.
Support impaired side of body
If people with swallowing difficulties have one side weaker than the other make sure you support the impaired side.
Sit at or below eye level
When feeding people with dysphagia, position yourself at the same level or slightly below their eye level. This will make it easier for him/her to maintain their head in the most appropriate position.
Place food in stronger side of mouth
If there is any facial weakness, make sure you sit on the stronger side and place food into that side of the mouth to maximise careful feeding.
Sit on side which will maximise careful feeding
Take account of visual field deficits, re-seating and food placement
Finally take account of any visual field deficits regarding seating and food placement – for example, make sure you put food well within arms’ reach, and the people with dysphagia can see it.
Some foods can be particularly difficult to chew, move in the mouth and swallow safely. Some will need extra care, others should be avoided altogether.
Neil recently spoke at a dysphagia chef event and he explained what a thick puree dysphagia diet is. It is also known as Texture C and refers to food that has a thick smooth consistency.