There are several ways of managing a person who has difficulties swallowing. In hospital settings a person may be stopped from eating and drinking initially if there are significant concerns about their swallowing. They can be provided with fluids and meet their nutritional needs via alternative methods such as a nasogastric or PEG tube.

Once a formal swallow assessment has been completed, a Speech and Language Therapist may determine that a person may be able to swallow safely by having their food modified e.g. pureed, mashed down etc or by thickening their fluids using a thickening powder. A range of strategies can also be trialled to ascertain if they have a positive impact on a person’s swallow function.

If clinically indicated a Speech and Language Therapist can provide a range of swallow rehabilitation exercises in an attempt to achieve an improvement in the person’s swallowing.