Louisa and I have a singular motto at Real Meals Modified: “Take the guesswork out of modified diets.”
Our first prong is to make meals a little easier by providing recipes for meals that are already modified — you shouldn’t have to figure all this out yourself.
The second prong is making sure that someone leaving the office with a modified diet knows exactly what is happening. For SLPs, we have clear, evidence-based reasons for each recommendation that we make, but we can’t guarantee that our patients understand our explanations.
Additionally, dysphagia is something that people don’t often think about until they are diagnosed with it. With many medical treatments, we have an idea of what to ask when we see the doctor.
- When will I get better?
- What medications are you putting me on?
- Are there other alternatives?
- When should I follow-up with you?
These questions are important for dysphagia management as well (although SLPs cannot prescribe medication, a GI/ENT may). However, there are other questions that you may need to be ready to ask at your office visits in order to make sure you get the most important information out of your session.
- What foods do I need to avoid? What foods are safe?
- How do I know whether a food is safe? How do I test it?
- Why is this the recommended diet for me/my type of dysphagia?
How does the modified diet handout help?
Knowing the answer to these questions helps you take control of your dysphagia management after you leave the building. Unlike a broken leg where a treatment plan might include using crutches, dysphagia management has many variables that you, the patient, must understand.
You wouldn’t need to find a new set of crutches that meet the recommended criteria multiple times a day, but you do have to determine whether the food you’re eating meets your requirements for every single item you put in your mouth. Until the day that doctors can prescribe a machine that turns any food into the perfect texture without sacrificing taste or appearance, you need to think critically every day, multiple times a day.
She gets it – eating can become incredibly frustrating when you have to make hard decisions every meal.
Louisa and I developed a modified diet handout to help you remember what questions to ask, as well as what level you have been recommended.
Feel free to print this handout and bring it to your next session to remind you to collect all the information about your recommendations before you leave the office. Take notes on the back! Add your clinician’s phone number!
If you’re an SLP, feel free to provide this handout to your patients at visits, reminding them to take notes on the back as necessary. We know your facility may not use the IDDSI standards officially, so use the blanks provided to fill in the name of the diet your facility uses. Then use the IDDSI chart to “crosswalk” your diet recommendation to an IDDSI level, allowing your patients to have access to additional information, recipes, and testing methods, hopefully increasing compliance and outcomes.
Even if you don’t bring our handout to the office with you, looking over the recommended information can help you make sure you get the most out of every visit.
Leave us a comment below! Have you tried out our handout? What other information do you need? Do you have ideas for another handout you’d like to see available?