Liquid intake through beverages is at least as important as the intake of solid food and also represents a risk that should not to be underestimated for people with relatively minor swallowing disorders – especially older people and/or people with health problems.
In the person affected, the swallowing reflex is only triggered with a delay, if at all, and the liquid may enter the trachea. If the patient/resident cannot resolve this by coughing, which is the natural reflex, serious complications might result. This is known as “silent aspiration” and can lead to the development of pneumonia.
To minimize this risk, it’s necessary to adjust the consistency of the liquid. This is done with the help of speech therapists, who determine the extent of the person’s swallowing disorder and on this basis recommend a certain consistency. The consistency grades of syrup, honey and pudding have been agreed at international level.
The deciding factor for safe liquid intake is that the corresponding consistency level is set accurately. Within the smoothfood concept, the consistency level is adjusted using a xanthan gum-based thickener.
This has distinct advantages over standard starch products on the market: