In dysphagia or difficulty swallowing liquids, some precautions should be taken before starting consumption of drinks with a modified texture, such as:
1. NEVER give fluids to a person with dysphagia who is drowsy or unresponsive. Offer fluids or drinks when they are fully awake.
2. Maintain proper posture before administering fluids: sit up straight with your back in contact with the back of the chair.
- If you can't sit up and straight, put cushions around you. This will keep you in the center of the chair and avoid leaning to one side.
- If you have trouble supporting your head, you can use inflatable neck pillows.
- When feeding a person in bed, he/she should be reclined, with the trunk at an angle of about 45º and with the head slightly raised and tilted forward.
3. SYRINGES SHOULD NOT BE USED to administer liquids, nor should STRAWS.. There are two fundamental reasons to avoid its use:
- It is not good for the person to stop using the spoon, self-hydration should always be encouraged.
- Using a syringe too quickly, at a wrong volume, or at the wrong time can cause the person with dysphagia to choke.
4. Avoid talking to or distracting a person with dysphagia when they are drinking. This is because when they speak, airways open and it becomes easier to choke on food.
5. Clean mouth with a soft brush in order to avoid respiratory and oral infections. Oral hygiene should include cleaning of teeth, gums, palate and tongue, and should be done from back of mouth to tip of tongue. In person has dental prosthetics, remember to clean it before and after meals.
- Garmendia Merino G, Gómez Candela C. Diagnosis and nutritional intervention in oropharyngeal dysphagia. Ed. Glosa, 2010
- Clavé Civit P, García Peris P. Guide to diagnosis and nutritional and rehabilitative treatment of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Ed. Glosa, 2011