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Dysphagia Awareness Month IDDSI Q&A Series, Part 2: Helping Residents Accept Diet Changes

Fact: change can be hard – especially when it comes to something as habitual as daily meals. As a foodservice professional, you see this every day as you work to balance your patient or residents’ dietary needs with foods that they'll actually enjoy.

So, when introducing a new diet to a diner – like a new IDDSI diet – what can you do to help them embrace this change in their routine? While this diet change can seem limiting at first, the fact is that there’s a world of possibility to help your residents accept and embrace their new offerings.

Welcome to part two of our IDDSI Q&A Series, where our team of registered dietitians share their insights on IDDSI questions from real industry professionals. This week, we’re addressing questions around how you can help your diners embrace their new IDDSI diet:

Q: Our facilities are just getting started with IDDSI implementation and are really worried about how our Residents will respond to different diets and menu options; especially when certain food items are not allowed in the IDDSI diet. Can you please share how other facilities or MealSuite has helped bridge the NDD to IDDSI diets? – Charlie Richards, Clinical Risk Manager and Quality Assurance Coordinator at NDVA

A: IDDSI provides a framework for texture modified diets and safety guidance for menu planning, however, diets should be personalized by the Registered Dietitian and Speech Therapist to meet the individual needs of each resident. Some residents may require texture modifications, but still be able to safely tolerate breads and transitional foods such as gelatin and ice cream. Individual tolerance of items such as bread, gelatin, and ice cream should be assessed by the Speech Therapist, and diets should be ordered in collaboration with the interdisciplinary team to ensure the safest and most suitable selections for the resident are provided.

MealSuite has helped facilities adapt to the removal of bread on IDDSI diets by offering soaked bread recipes on the Soft and Bite Sized (Level 6) and Minced and Moist (Level 5) menus. Soaked bread recipes were thoroughly tested, not only to pass IDDSI tests, but also for flavor and acceptability. While there are not alternative recipes for transitional foods, such as gelatin and ice cream, MealSuite menus accommodate IDDSI safe dessert substitutes for these items, such as soaked cookies.

Q: Concern with removal of bread on this diet and getting patients to accept this change. – Anonymous

A: For residents who are unable to tolerate bread in its original form, soaked bread recipes are a great option. Soaked bread recipes have gone through extensive testing to provide a safe alternative for residents on IDDSI diets, so they can enjoy a variety of bread type items, including desserts such as cakes and cookies. A variety of liquids were used in testing, from milk to apple juice, to evaluate taste acceptance and quality. Soaked bread recipes were also created to offer different flavor profiles to residents, such as soaked cinnamon bread or soaked garlic bread.

Answers provided by:

Noel Slaughter
Noel Slaughter, RD,
Nutrition Sevices Specialist at MealSuite
Dianne Coronel
Dianne Coronel, RD,
Nutrition Services Specialist at MealSuite

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