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How Safe is Your Swallow?

A practical guide and assessment tool for carers of adults with learning disabilities

Price: £9.95
A practical guide and CD-ROM that helps determine how safe an individual’s swallow is and when to refer to a dietitian or speech and language therapist.
Author(s): Pamela McIntosh and Lorraine Speirs

How Safe Is Your Swallow? recognises that it is essential that carers of people with learning difficulties have an awareness of whether the person they are supporting is able to eat and drink safely, as difficulties with swallowing can lead to serious medical complications. 

People with delayed swallow are at greater risk of choking; this can include silent aspiration, where, despite a lack of obvious choking, food passes into the lungs rather than the stomach. This can cause serious chest infections and in some cases can even result in death. This resource encourages timely referrals to speech and language therapists and dietitians, thereby reducing the risk of choking and improving mealtime experiences for people with delayed swallows.

This guidance booklet and assessment tool is designed for anyone who supports adults with learning disabilities to eat and drink – both non-qualified and qualified carers. This support can range from general observation at meal or snack times, to manually encouraging someone with cutlery to feed themself, to feeding someone all of their meals and drinks. The booklet outlines the normal swallowing process and outlines what can go wrong if someone has a delayed or absent swallow, as well as signs to look out for.

The CD-ROM features an assessment tool that can be used with individuals with learning disabilities to determine how safe the person’s swallow is and whether referral is needed to a speech and language therapist or dietitian for therapeutic advice. Regular use of the assessment tool will improve carers’ observation skills regarding what constitutes a safe and unsafe swallow.

How Safe is Your Swallow? is an invaluable resource for family members, carers, healthcare workers and social care workers who are supporting adults to eat and drink. The materials have been developed so that they can be used by non-qualified as well as qualified carers.
ISBN: 9781908993373
Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media
Publication: 16 January 2013
Content: Introduction; Section 1: How our swallow works; Section 2: A safe swallow; Section 3: The assessment tool

Pamela McIntosh is an advanced specialist dietitian with over 20 years of experience of working in the field of learning disabilities. She successfully completed her MSc in advanced professional studies (learning disabilities) in 2003. Pamela is a member of the British Dietetic Association and an active member of the Scottish Learning Disability Dietitians’ Clinical Network. She is particularly interested in training and innovation in clinical resources and has produced various publications.

Lorraine Speirs is an expert adviser in learning disabilities for speech and language therapy. She is a member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT). Lorraine qualified in speech and language pathology in 1994 and has specialised in learning disabilities with a postgraduate qualification in dysphagia for adults with learning disabilities. She is particularly interested in working with other professionals to further develop clinical expertise in learning disabilities.