DYSPHAGIA AWARENESS 💜
Let’s talk about dysphagia; a difficulty swallowing safely, which if left undetected can lead to aspiration & recurrent chest infections 🦠
Early in my training as an RD2B I decided to follow a puréed/thickened fluid diet for 24hrs to develop a deeper understanding.
Why is this relevant? 🩺
Evidence shows that the intubation procedure necessary for some covid-19 patients may temporarily effect laryngeal function meaning swallow may be adversely impacted once extubated (Goldsmith., 2000). As future RDs we should be ready to support initial & ongoing nutritional rehab 🧑🏼⚕️
What did I learn? 🎓
🍴It’s hard to maintain calories & hydration. Puréed food is not palatable & therefore higher risk of malnutrition.
🤸🏼 This may put you off doing activities such as exercise. Keeping hydrated was hard & unenjoyable.
🌯 It's inflexible-no grabbing a meal or drink to go. Everything must be prepped, which is tiring & takes time.
🎒 You have to carry around all your food & thickeners with you which can be cumbersome & requires planning.
🗣 People may ask what you’re eating & you might not want the attention. This may also make you stick out in restaurants, when eating out.
⌚️ Prepping is time-consuming; blending, sieving, adding liquids and/or thickeners to get the correct consistency is an art, which must be perfected.
🍠 Some foods are easier to purée than others: Potatoes easy, meat difficult. This could lead to an unbalanced diet as you could end up eating easier foods & missing out on a variety of nutrients.
🎨 Visual presentation is important. If you don’t separate foods when blending you end up with a brown mush which isn’t very appetising at all. Presentation can make a big difference.
My Dysphagia experiment was an extra-vocational affair, but my reflections have been invaluable in understanding the emotional & practical realities. I urge all RD2B to live ‘a day in the life,’
It’s amazing what you could learn 🧑🏼🎓
Reference: Goldsmith, T., (2000). Evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders following endotracheal intubation and tracheostomy. Int Anesthesiol Clinics. Vol. 38(3), pp. 219–242.