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Safe Eating and Drinking

About This Course

Mealtime can be an enjoyable, creative, and social time of day. Part of your job is to help make sure that people maintain the highest level of function and quality possible around eating and drinking. At the same time, an estimated 5 to 8% of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a diagnosed difficulty swallowing food or liquids (dysphagia). These problems raise the risk of choking and can lead to serious health problems if correct protocols around eating and drinking are not followed. In fact, choking has been cited as the #1 quality-of-care concern in disabilities services nationwide (GOA, 2008). How can you balance safety while promoting quality of life?

This course presents an overview of best practices around eating and drinking for support staff. It presents basic information about choking, aspiration, and dietary orders, and allows learners to test their understanding of food modifications. The techniques you will learn in this course may be used when working with people with disabilities across the lifespan.


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