Front/back handout outlining dysphagia diets. Designed for speech-language pathologists to give to patients, nurses, dieticians, kitchen staff, etc.
Dysphagia diet textures can be a mysterious thing. It’s not like weight-bearing status, where one patient is generally consistent with another patient when the doctor says, “This person can handle 50% of their body weight on their left leg.”
No, dysphagia is a totally different animal.
“This person can handle thin liquids in the morning but not pudding ever and on some days, if things are going well and their meds are on time, they can do mechanical soft, except for cheese and bread and sour fruit, and really they need to tilt their head due to some past radiation treatment and sometimes they forget to do this due to a TIA.”
As my dysphagia professor used to say: “If your swallow precautions start to sound like a Starbucks order, no one’s going to follow them.”
So I say: Keep it simple.
Use this handout to highlight your recommended diet texture and liquid thickness. What I love about this handout is that the why takes up more than half the page. If you’re going to ask CNAs, dietitians, kitchen staff, patients, family, friends, caregivers, and fellow therapists to follow your recommendations, it’s nice to have your reasons right in front for all to see.
Recently, the staff at my facility got together and agreed to embark on the national dysphagia diet. It’s been a fun process and has resulted in the design of this handout. I hope that you can find it useful, too.