Swallowing Awareness Day is a fantastic initiative created by the Royal College Speech & Language Therapists. The campaign was created with the aim of raising awareness of dysphagia and how we can those with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. The campaign is held in the middle of NHS Nutrition and Hydration Week, highlighting the important role food plays in the lives of people following dysphagia diets.
Dysphagia is a condition that can affect people of all ages, including children, however, most individuals are over 65. This is because dysphagia is often one symptom of several chronic conditions that affect older people including Stroke, Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease.
The main danger is that those with dysphagia can choke on the food or that the food can end up in their lungs rather than their stomachs. It is therefore incredibly important that those with swallowing difficulties only eat food of the correct texture.
There are five levels of food consistency as follows:
Level 3 Liquidised
Level 5 Minced and moist
Level 6 Soft & bite-sized
Level 7 Easy to chew / Regular
Thomas Ridley have recently partnered with Mrs Gill’s Kitchen, who have been supplying the NHS with a range of dysphagia suitable pureed meals for over 12 years. Mrs Gill’s Kitchen are a small, family-run business produce a wide variety of textured modified frozen meals and bulk individual portions, conforming to the IDDSI Level 4 framework.
Only the finest naturally sourced ingredients are used, including homemade vegetable stock and spice mixes. Everything is palm oil free and the real butter and fresh milk ingredients are sourced locally in Britain. All the British meat and poultry used is never reformed or reconstituted.
The frozen bulk individual portions are great for care homes, allowing caterers to adjust portion sizes and include flavours according to resident’s choice. The frozen meals are ready to heat and nutritionally fortified, containing on average around 500 kcal and 21g of protein per meal.