What Carers Should Know About IDDSI Modified Food and Fluids

Do you care for someone with a mealtime management plan? If so, you may have come across some recommendations for their care that include terms like “minced and moist” or “soft and bite sized”, and wondered what that means for you and the care you provide at mealtimes. 

Our team of passionate Speech Pathologists work with adults across the lifespan with different mealtime requirements. We’ve also provided training to carers and support workers over the last 10 years to help them provide support for individuals with swallowing difficulties that align with their needs. All this is to say that we’re well equipped to guide you through what you need to know about IDDSI.

Keep on reading to find out what you need to know about IDDSI modified diets as a carer. 

What is the IDDSI Framework?

Speech Pathologists in Australia (and around the world) use the IDDSI Framework to describe and clarify food and fluid consistencies. This common terminology ensures that we all have the same understanding of mealtime requirements. 

The IDDSI framework includes a collection of numbers and corresponding terms that are used to describe the different textures of drinks and foods that a person may consume. Depending on an individual’s swallowing difficulties or other symptoms that may impact their safety at mealtimes, Speech Pathologists will recommend their food and fluids be delivered through certain textures. 

IDDSI Modified Drinks

Drinks can range in texture from level 0 (thin – like water), through to mildly thick (2), moderately thick (3), and extremely thick (4). It’s important to note that you will be unlikely to find a recommendation of slightly thick (1) drinks when caring for an adult.

IDDSI Modified Foods

As we move to the next stage of the IDDSI framework, foods, you’ll notice a bit of crossover with the drinks. This is because foods that have been prepared at a liquidized or pureed texture share similar features to drinks (think about a really thick smoothie!). From there, recommendations increase to minced & moist (5), soft and bite sized (6), and easy to chew / regular foods (7).

You can learn more about the IDDSI framework in depth here, and discover more about how you can support someone with mealtime difficulties requiring a modified diet through our online training here

How Are IDDSI Modified Diets Made or Changed?

Recommendations to modify someone’s diet in order to support their swallowing efficiency and safety are made exclusively by a qualified Speech Pathologist. They will provide ongoing support for the person with mealtime needs, ensuring that if there are any changes in the person’s condition that appropriate adjustments to their diet modification are made. 

Carers are encouraged to follow the recommendations outlined in a mealtime management plan, including the recommended diet modifications as well as providing any positioning, prompting, or feeding support that the Speech Pathologist has recommended during mealtimes. Ongoing feedback and reviews may be required to find the best mealtime support for each individual. 

Who Should I Ask Questions About Diet Recommendations?

If you find yourself caring for someone with specific IDDSI diet recommendations, and you are unsure of how to best support them at mealtimes, it’s best to make contact with their treating Speech Pathologist. Their contact details will generally be listed somewhere on the mealtime management plan for easy reference. 

Speech Pathologists are passionate about supporting their client’s safety and enjoyment at mealtimes and are happy to provide guidance to ensure that you feel confident supporting the individual during their meals. 
If you are interested in learning more about this area of support, and would like to be equipped with some helpful strategies and additional knowledge from a team of Speech Pathologists, take a look at our online training program.