Today is Swallowing Awareness Day, raising awareness of dysphagia.
The theme for 2019’s Swallowing Awareness Day is ‘Dysphagia. A difficult diagnosis to swallow!’
Swallowing difficulty (dysphagia) is any problem with sucking, swallowing, drinking, chewing, eating, controlling saliva, taking medication, or protecting the lungs from food and drink ‘going the wrong way’.
Like breathing, swallowing is essential to everyday life. Humans swallow at between 500-700 times a day, around three times an hour during sleep, once per minute while awake and even more during meals.
Dysphagia is a significant issue for aged care residents, and restoring the joy of meal times for people with swallowing difficulties has been a focus of Bolton Clarke’s award-winning texture modified food innovation program.
Bolton Clarke chefs have used molecular gastronomy techniques to develop new menu options for residents on texture modified diets, moving beyond molded foods to create dishes including breads, salads and noodle dishes.
The initiative has resulted in residents eating more fresh food, improving nutritional outcomes and enabling greater choice and independence around meals.
“About 20 per cent of residents are on a texture modified diet today with the number set to increase to 60 per cent by 2020, so this new technique will have real outcomes for the nutritional wellbeing of seniors,” Bolton Clarke General Manager Hotel Services Bill Laird said.
“Since the introduction of the texture modified food program we have seen a difference in the way residents with dysphagia engage at meal times.”
“When the food can look like what it is it really makes a massive difference and the dignity of food is restored, and people’s enjoyment of food and the chances of eating the food is significantly improved,” speech pathologist Bernadette Dutton said.
That outcome is easy to swallow.
Watch our video about our Texture Modified Food program