Mixed Consistency Foods For Clients With Dysphagia

March 22, 2019
dysphasia

Mixed Consistency Foods For Clients With Dysphagia

If you’re a Speech and Language Pathologist, you are aware of the challenges some of your clients face with foods that have a mixed consistency such as soups or cereal with milk. It’s not uncommon to have a client who safely consumes liquids on their own and solids in isolation but can’t tolerate food with mixed consistencies without difficulty. If this is a consistent struggle, it may indicate a more serious medical condition known as dysphagia. Patients with swallowing difficulties, specifically with mixed consistency foods, may end up on very restrictive diets, negatively impacting their nutritional intake and quality of life. A patient with dysphagia may have a harder time moving food or liquid from their mouth to their digestive system. Swallowing can be painful, and in some cases, may not be possible. Other symptoms of dysphagia include the sensation of food getting stuck in the throat or chest, frequent heartburn, regurgitation, stomach acid in the throat, and coughing and gagging when swallowing.1 Dysphagia patients may find themselves having to cut their food into smaller pieces for easier swallowing or avoid certain foods altogether, which in turn can lead to weight loss. Dysphagia can occur at any age but is more common in older adults due to wear and tear on the esophagus over time. Often, the cause of dysphagia can't be identified, but certain neurological or nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or a stroke, may contribute to the condition.1 The struggle as a clinician is finding the right balance of keeping clients on modified diets, while helping them maintain their nutritional intake and quality of life.

Treatment Strategies Can Help

Mixed consistency foods help patients maintain a healthy intake of nutrients, so clinicians are continually seeking ways to make them easier to consume. Some common strategies include:2

  • Draining liquid from the spoon during meals: simple, but tedious to do with every bite
  • Using a fork to eat mixed textures: drains liquid, but food may fall through the fork
  • Thickening broth or milk: allows more control by increasing viscosity of food, but client may develop an aversion
  • Pureeing soups, cereals, and juicy fruits: Creates a single consistency, but creates a restrictive diet

The Solution: The MIT-E Spoon

The MIT-E Spoon (Mixed-Texture Eating) was developed for patients who could tolerate liquids but were challenged by mixed-consistency foods. The MIT-E Spoon quickly and effectively provides a safe bite of solid food by draining away liquid using a series of strategically placed holes in the utensil promoting rapid draining and minimizing spillage on a patient, making it the ideal solution for balancing nutritional intake with quality of life. The MIT-E Spoon comes in two colors: gray to blend in with other silverware and preserve dignity or red for patients who benefit from visual cues. To find out more about the MIT-E Spoon from AliMed, please visit https://www.alimed.com/mit-e-spoon.html.

References

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dysphagia/symptoms-causes/syc-20372028
  2. Bouchard, S., Ordway, M., & Wilhelm, M., (Nov, 2014). OSLHA Mixed consistencies member survey.

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