Who can help? (Adults)

You should speak to your GP or a health care professional if you, or someone you care for, is having difficulty swallowing or experiencing any signs of dysphagia. You can also contact your local SLT department directly to discuss any concerns.

Your GP may refer you to:

A specialist doctor/consultant e.g. Gastroenterologist – if further tests are needed

A Speech & Language Therapist (SLT) – for a swallowing assessment

A Speech & Language Therapist (SLT) assesses eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties and may suggest ways to make food and drinks easier and safer to swallow. This may include advice about:

  • changing the texture of the food by preparing it or cooking it in a different way (e.g. blending or cutting it up into small pieces
  • changing the thickness of drinks by adding a thickener
  • the amount of food or drinks taken
  • ways to eat and drink more safely
  • what to do if you get tired easily
  • certain high risk foods to avoid
  • swallowing exercises

A dietitian – if you are struggling to eat / drink enough to stay healthy

A dietitian can assess diet, nutritional and fluid intake and weight. Weight loss is often related to dysphagia. A dietitian can:

  • provide you with personalised advice to ensure you are getting enough calories, protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • provide you with advice on how to cook and prepare your meals to best meet your eating, drinking and swallowing recommendations made by your Speech & Language Therapist.
  • some people may require feeding tubes to provide nutrition whilst recovering their ability to swallow. A dietitian will also provide advice relating to the nutrition received via feeding tubes.



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