Dysphagia support and equipment
Dysphagia is difficult or uncomfortable swallowing, reduced control of food and fluid in the mouth, and trouble taking some medication. Chewing problems can be part of dysphagia.
Long-term dysphagia may lead to serious health challenges, and to emotional and social issues.
Anyone can have dysphagia, but it is more common in:
- older people
- people with intellectual or physical disability
- people with brain injury or progressive neurological conditions
- head or neck surgery patients.
People with dysphagia may experience:
- coughing, throat clearing, choking or discomfort while eating or drinking
- food remaining in the mouth after swallowing
- a wet or gurgly voice during or immediately following meals
- excessive loss of saliva (drooling) or loss or food and drink from the mouth
- slow chewing and movement of food around the mouth
- food coming out of the nose (nasal regurgitation) or sneezing during a meal
- frequent chest infections or pneumonia
- gastric reflux or vomiting.
Advice and treatment
Dysphagia can be serious. Consult a doctor for advice and treatment if you or someone you know is having swallowing difficulties.
Changes to diet and mealtime equipment
Changes to diet and eating habits help manage dysphagia for people experiencing food- and drink-related difficulties.
People with severe dysphagia may need feeding tubes to take in all or some of their food, fluids and medications.
Adapted mealtime equipment is available: cups, cutlery, plates, bowls and straws that may help people with dysphagia during mealtimes.
An Independent Living Centre speech pathologist is available by appointment to provide information and advice about mealtime equipment, and eating and drinking solutions. This is a free service.
Phone 1300 885 886 (SA/NT callers only) or 8266 5260