Implementing the International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI) in your facility is not as daunting as it may seem, and the benefits far outweigh the hard work that is required to achieve the goal. Take a look at the top six reasons you should consider implementing IDDSI at your facility (if you haven’t already).
- IDDSI was developed to keep patients safe while eating and drinking modified diets. By preparing meals according to a standard method, a patient with dysphagia will be at a lower risk for coughing and choking while meeting their nutritional needs.
- IDDSI takes an interdisciplinary approach. As you begin to plan your IDDSI implementation at your facility, don’t go it alone. This is a great opportunity to work closely with your peers. At minimum, you will need a speech therapist, food service manager, and a nursing representative on your team.
- Successful implementation of IDDSI can prevent nutrition-related illnesses such as dehydration, aspiration pneumonia, and malnutrition caused by inadequate oral intake and intolerance of a texture modified diet. Prevention of these illnesses contributes to less frequent hospitalizations and shorter lengths of stay, which positively impacts the quality of care in our nursing and rehab facilities.
- By using standardized terminology, IDDSI improves uniformity of specific solid and liquid textures. This eliminates the confusion and facility-specific discrepancies that often occur with the National Dysphagia Diet (NDD).
- IDDSI promotes expanded levels of liquid consistency. Rather than just nectar, honey, and pudding thickened liquids with NDD, IDDSI offers liquids in five levels: thin, slightly thick, mildly thick, moderately thick, extremely thick.
- IDDSI offers more palatable meals for every patient, no matter the severity of dysphagia. Fresh foods are used, least restrictive diets are ordered, and patient’s food preferences can be honored more easily.
Sarah Hammaker, RDN is a clinical dietitian working primarily in long-term care and acute rehabilitation hospital settings in Pennsylvania. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and their four children. She loves running and being outdoors. Her hobbies include reading, planting and shopping.
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