Swallowing Disorders and Nutrition
Swallowing problems are common in patients with neurological disease, acquired brain injury and in those who need mechanical ventilation or tracheostomy for breathing. Swallowing problems arise from changes in the anatomy in the throat by the tracheostomy tube or changes in the systems that control sensation, taste and muscular control.
Specialist dietary advice
Our Speech and Language Therapist provides advice on consistency of food and feeding techniques to minimise the risk of choking or aspirating food/fluids into the lungs. Some patients may be at risk of choking or aspiration because they are unable to take food or fluid by mouth and require feeding via a tube placed directly into the stomach.
Good nutrition is vital for health and wellbeing and to prevent complications such as pressure ulcers and increased susceptibility to infection. We assess the nutritional status of each of our patients using the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST); this is repeated every month so early action can be taken if needed.
Our patients with swallowing disorders have a higher risk of poor nutrition as they are able to manage only small amounts of food and modifying the consistency can in some cases reduce the nutritional value. Our Dietician works with patients, catering and nursing staff to advise on menu planning and to analyse nutritional values.