5 Signs You Would Benefit From Dysphagia Training for Family Members

dysphagia training for family members

Do you care for a loved one with swallowing difficulties? Or perhaps you have swallowing difficulties, and want to find a way for your spouse or family members to learn more about the swallowing changes you are experiencing and the support or accommodations you need when dining together. Dysphagia training for family members is a great option for reducing mealtime stress and enabling safe and enjoyable mealtimes. 

Dysphagia training can take many forms – your treating Speech Pathologist or GP may have even recommended training for family members after prescribing diet modifications or strategies to support safe swallowing. Keep on reading to find out more about what Dysphagia training for family members is and the signs you and your family would benefit from it. 

What is Dysphagia Training for Family Members?

Dysphagia training for family members is a worthwhile investment for ensuring safe and enjoyable mealtime experiences at home and at social family gatherings. Like breathing, swallowing is an essential reflex for everyday life. Swallowing difficulty, known as Dysphagia, may present as difficulty drinking, chewing, swallowing, sucking, taking medication, controlling saliva or protecting the airway.

For family members, the necessary changes in typical mealtime structure can be a lot to take in at once. From adapting meals and drinks to suit Speech Pathologist recommendations, to navigating swallowing risks, it is a lot to familiarise yourself with – and a lot can change as conditions progress.

Dysphagia training for family members offers a comprehensive overview of the different aspects of Dysphagia management, providing families with the knowledge and professional guidance to manage mealtime changes with confidence. Speech Pathologists can complete Dysphagia training for family members face-to-face, especially if there is a large extended family involved in care, or the training can also be completed online for convenience.

Signs You Would Benefit from Dysphagia Training for Family Members

Wondering if Dysphagia training for family members is right for you and your loved ones? Here are some things to consider. 

#1: If Dysphagia is new to you and your family

If you or your loved one has only recently been assessed for swallowing difficulties, finding out about Dysphagia and all the things that come with it can be overwhelming. If this is the first time you’ve encountered Dysphagia in your lifetime, it can feel like you have to learn a whole new language!

With the help of trained Speech Pathologists, your family can complete Dysphagia training face-to-face or online to learn more about the physiology of swallowing, how swallowing difficulties can be accommodated at mealtimes, and how to identify and manage swallowing risks.

#2: If Dysphagia is associated with a progressive condition

Swallowing difficulties may start out very slight with progressive neurological conditions – your loved one may not even have noticed that fluids were going ‘down the wrong way’ until they received a thorough swallowing assessment with a Speech Pathologist! Unfortunately, while Speech Pathologists can provide rehabilitation strategies to maintain swallowing function, as conditions progress Dysphagia can become more difficult to manage. This can lead to further changes in diet and further recommendations from the treating Speech Pathologist.

It can be a lot to remember, so it can be helpful to complete Dysphagia training for family members online if you have a loved one with a progressive condition. That way, you have lifetime access to the online resources and can go back to revise content around diet modifications and other recommendations as swallowing ability declines over time. Having this information on hand can also help family members to notice early warning signs that Dysphagia is progressing and a swallowing assessment and mealtime management plan review may be needed to ensure safety at mealtimes.

#3: If you or your family want to be able to support and maintain safety at meals

Swallowing difficulties can lead to food and fluids accidentally ‘going down the wrong way’. This can feel uncomfortable for the person with Dysphagia, but it can also be dangerous as this contributes to chest infections and a condition known as ‘aspiration pneumonia’ which can lead to hospitalisation. This is why using compensatory strategies or rehabilitation recommended by Speech Pathologists, including diet modifications, are so important. 

If you want to know more about how you can improve safety at mealtimes for your loved one with Dysphagia, it is well worth investing in a Dysphagia training program for family members. 

#4: If you or your family want to be better equipped to maintain safety in social settings

Something we often forget about mealtimes is that they are profoundly social activities that not only help us to meet our physiological needs (hunger, hydration) but our social needs too. Family dinners, and celebrating special occasions over a meal is a common occurrence in many households. If you want to be better equipped to provide support in these social settings as a family unit, completing a Dysphagia training for family members is a good place to start.

#5: If mealtimes and swallowing risks are causing stress at home

When you and your family members first begin following the recommendations of a Mealtime Management Plan from a Speech Pathologist, you may find it overwhelming. You aren’t alone! There is so much to consider when it comes to Dysphagia management, and when you are working as a family to try and support safe mealtimes and reduce swallowing risks, it can be easy to get your wires crossed and for family members to have different opinions on how things should be done.

To help everyone in the family get on the same page about how to approach Dysphagia management, it can be beneficial for every family member to take part in Dysphagia training. It can go a long way for reducing stress at mealtimes and ensure that everyone follows the recommendations of the Speech Pathologist and treating team.

How Much Does Dysphagia Training for Family Members Cost?

If you are interested in taking part in Dysphagia training for family members, either by yourself or with other family members involved in care, you’re probably wondering how much it will all cost.

At Speak & Swallow, we’ve been supporting adults with swallowing difficulties for over 10 years. While we’re based in Brisbane, Australia, we’ve designed a comprehensive online Dysphagia training for family members that offers lifetime access for only $89 per person.

Accessible from the comfort of your own computer, this online training provides a wealth of knowledge and resources designed to empower you and your family. With lifetime access to the online materials, family members have the flexibility to learn at their own pace, ensuring everyone is fully equipped to recognise and address Dysphagia risks effectively.

If you are based in North Brisbane, or are able to travel to Burpengary East, we can also provide this Dysphagia training for family members face-to-face.

A face-to-face Dysphagia training for family members is a great option if you:

  • have a large extended family and would like everyone to learn together
  • would like a more personalised session
  • want a Speech Pathologist there to answer any questions you may have 

To find out more, or to sign up for Dysphagia training, visit our dedicated course page here.

*Please note that the information shared in this article is general in nature and is not a suitable substitute to individualised advice. For personalised guidance please seek the support and recommendation from a registered Speech Pathologist. 

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