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The premier source of information for the management of patients with Dysphagia

Feeding patients with dysphagia

Positioning at Mealtimes

  • Sit upright in erect position
    1. Make sure the patient is sitting upright as possible – prop them up with plenty of pillow if they are unable to sit erect themselves.
  • Head tilted forward / chin down
    1. Ask the patient to tilt their head forward with their chin slightly forward – people often think that it’s best to get patients to tilt their head back to open the passage down to the oesophagus, but this actually makes it more difficult to swallow.
  • Support impaired side of body
    1. If a patient has one side weaker than the other make sure you support the impaired side.
  • Sit at or below patient’s eye level
    1. When feeding patients sit down so you are positioned at the same level, or slightly below the patients eye level, this will make it easier for him/her to maintain their head in the most appropriate position.
  • Place food in stronger side of mouth
    1. If your patient has any facial weakness make sure you sit on the strong and place food into the stronger side of the mouth to maximise careful feeding.
  • Sit on side which will maximise careful feeding
  • Take account of visual field deficits re-seating and food placement
    1. Finally take account of visual field deficits regarding seating and food placement – for example, if you are giving a patient a Forticreme Complete, make sure you put it well within arms reach, and the patient can see the pot.

Watch our videos on how to feed a patient the right way and how to feed a patient the wrong way.


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