Catering for dysphagia

Helping you cater with confidence for residents with dysphagia

What is dysphagia?

Dysphagia is a condition that affects people’s ability to swallow food and is more common amongst the elderly. Problems with swallowing can lead to food or drink entering the lungs or lead to choking, malnutrition, or dehydration. Dysphagia and its associated effects are a common cause of hospital admission for care residents and can be fatal. We are passionate about supporting you cater for residents with dysphagia to help them stay safe when eating and drinking and retain pleasure in mealtimes.

Resources and products to support you

Learning videos

Our chef development team are up to speed with the latest guidelines and are there to support you. Take a look at our Catering for Dysphagia video where Pam Maclean, our care catering expert, talks you through how to understand the IDDSI guidelines.

Specialist product range

We offer a specialist product range through Simply Puree, a dedicated range of texture-modified dishes, individually created for people with dysphagia. Each meal complies with IDDSI textures ensuring you can prepare them safely and with the peace of mind that each one has consistency in nutritional content.

Find out more

Free resources

The Simply Puree IDDSI guide is a free easy to use tool to help you understand and cater for the different IDDSI textures.

Take a look at our free guide to catering with dysphagia here. It contains information on the IDDSI standards plus tips and ideas to help you.

How to cater for residents with dysphagia

We’ve pulled together 10 top tips to help you cater for your residents:

  1. Use strong flavours so that food is still tasty when diluted and pureed e.g. parmesan and stilton rather than cheddar and adding extra herbs and spices
  2. Avoid using stringy foods or foods with skin, gristle and bones
  3. Ensure the food is at the correct serving temperature once thickened
  4. Cover pureed foods with cling film touching the food to avoid a skin forming
  5. Liquids go thicker as they cool, check against the guidelines before serving
  6. Transitional foods should be used with care for IDDSI levels 5, 6 & 7 only
  7. Fortify smaller portions of food to meet nutritional needs
  8. Remove peel and pips from fruits before blending and sieve pureed foods where possible to exclude small lumps
  9. Plan a dysphasic menu cycle to go alongside your main menu and ensure it is varied
  10. Use a thickener which is tasteless and amylase resistant

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace individual care plans or substitute the advice of health professionals such as a doctor or dietician. If you are in any doubt, please consult a qualified appropriate medical professional.

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