Long term disability is the most frequent post stroke complication. Some of this poor nutrition is caused by limited ability to swallow food, and many stroke survivors require special diets to prevent or reverse this deficit. Dysphagia is difficulty with swallowing. In the case of a loved one with a stroke, it was caused by the nerve and brain damage of the stroke. The damage may have also affected the ability to chew or move food around with the tongue. There are actually different stages of swallowing see the diagram above. While your loved one can chew and control the food in their mouth Stage 1 and initiate swallowing Stage 2 the body may not be able to do the rest. If your loved one can chew and swallow, but is still on a special diet, their body might not be closing off their airway Stage 3 or carrying the food to their stomach Stage 4 as it once did. Sometimes your loved one may have NO symptoms at all, but may still be suffering from dysphagia.
A dysphagia diet plan has 3 levels. Journal of American Dietitian Association, , National Dysphagia Diet Task Force. Main Menu. The national dysphagia diet: Implementation at a regional rehabilitation center and hospital system. Medical surgical nursing clinical management for positive outcomes 8 th ed. National dysphagia diet: Standardization for optimal care. It may also help to have few distractions while drinking.
Your healthcare provider will give you more information about how to manage the thickness of liquids. Breads still need to be very soft or slurried. Ramsey, D. Foods are mechanically altered by whipping, blending, grinding, chopping, or mashing so that they are easy to chew and swallow. Dalton, C. Even eating 1 food that is not approved can greatly raise your risk for aspiration. You may need support pillows to get into the best position.