General guidelines for helping with eating, drinking and swallowing

Sit upright – this helps things go down the right way.

Do not have food, drink or tablets in bed unless absolutely necessary – if it is necessary, remember that it is important to make sure you are sitting upright (support with pillows as needed).

Do not tip your head back – tipping the head back makes swallowing harder and causes things to go down the wrong way.

Do not eat or drink when tired or drowsy.

Do not mix food and drink in the same mouthful.

Do not put too much in your mouth at one time.

Do not take food and drink too quickly – go slowly allowing plenty of time for your throat to clear - take extra ‘empty’ swallows if you need to.

Keep your mouth clean to reduce the risk of infection.

Remove any bits of food left in your mouth after eating – this prevents choking later on.

Do not use a straw or spouted feeding beaker – unless advised to do so.

Concentrate on eating – avoid distractions such as the television, conversations or lots of people.

Choose the sorts of foods and drinks that cause the least problems. Your speech and language therapist will give you detailed advice.

Medications should be taken in the form that causes the least problems - ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice.

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I have difficulty swallowing food or drink