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Journal of Community Nursing (JCN) | April 2019

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Dysphagia in the community: tips and recommendations

Dysphagia in the community: tips and recommendations

Article topics: Dysphagia, Elderly, Hydration, Malnutrition

There are a number of clinical conditions that result in dysphagia (difficulties swallowing food and drink). Sometimes dysphagia can resolve, however, for many it can be long term and also continue to deteriorate over time as the disease progresses. Successful management of dysphagia requires provision of differing levels of texture modification to an individual’s food and fluid consistency. It is important that this is assessed correctly so that the individual receives the appropriate consistency to swallow safely. If an inappropriate consistency is given, this can result in aspiration pneumonia, which can have fatal consequences. If individuals are given a consistency which has been over modified so that it is softer or thicker than required, their pleasure in food and drinks can be reduced unnecessarily, risking malnutrition and dehydration. This article introduces the differing consistencies which are recommended and the consequences that can result from incorrect consistencies being given. It also discusses suitable foods and fluids to meet both the requirements of the differing texture modifications and nutritional components of these consistencies.