Dysphagia Framework Changes – What does this mean for me?

International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDIS)

If you or someone in your life has dysphagia (problems with eating and swallowing) you may have noticed some changes in terminology and labelling over the last 12 months.

The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) is a framework introduced in 2019 to standardise the way food and fluid textures are categorized. It’s the result of years of research and international consultation, and is designed to make the whole confusing process as simple and precise as possible.

The IDDSI framework consists of a continuum of 8 levels (0-7), where drinks are measured from Levels 0 – 4, while foods are measured from Levels 3 – 7.

It provides easy and consistent methods of testing textures to ensure foods and fluids are prepared correctly.

It provides a common terminology to describe food textures and drink thickness, and introduces some new consistencies which were not present in the old framework, for example slightly thick, which is a smidge thinner than mildly thick.

What does this mean for me?

If you have a mealtime management plan, when it is next reviewed by your speech pathologist, it will contain the new textures descriptions. Some things remain similar, for example mildly, moderately, and extremely thick are still the same texture as before, but are labelled with different colours now, so require extra vigilance. You might have a container of thickener with the old labelling system and colours which do not correspond to your new mealtime management plan, so make sure to talk to your speech pathologist to make sure you know what changes are important for you to be aware of.

REFERENCES

(IDDIS), I. D. (2020). What is the IDDSI Framework? Retrieved from International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDIS): https://iddsi.org/framework/

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