Swallowing and choking

Dear all

Please forgive my ignorance on this subject, but I think it's one we may be nearing....I will be asking the speech therapist to visit ASAP

Dad is occasionally having difficulties swallowing and then a lot of coughing and spluttering, he has refused the peg in his care plan

Tell me about thickeners and why and how they help?

Give me any tips please on how you all manage this problem

I'm not gonna lie I'm rather petrified about this stage! What do you do if the patient chokes?

All advice/comments greatfully received x

13 Replies

  • Go to the post just written called "Swallowing webcast."..It's for those with Parkinsons...but you can glean alot of info....also if you feel dad needs it, tell dr you want him to have a swallow study done with a Barium test to see what the food is doing once swallowed.....Nothing is more informative than this test...

    Don't be petrified...No go ahead and be petrified...I remember I was! Days before Christmas my freak outs got doctors to quickly get dad in and a PEG tube fitted....He had lost 20lbs in just weeks and when I realized the detriment of his choking, bam I ordered a PEG tube (I asked dad if he wanted one, he said yes)...I never even saw his gp, she just got a doctor going on some vacation to tweek plans a bit to take care of my suffering husband! whew! I was scared but i forged on...and now it's all good....Now if your dad does not want one.....and he does not need one....there are others here that dealt with thickened and mashed food much better...But One thing that the Speech guy said is using mashed potatoes and gravy are very good as they are high calorie and helps the food create a ball more easily swallowed.....Sweet potatoes are higher in proteinvitamin C and other nutrients than the white potato

    Good luck Swallow hard , mash it up, consider the PEG...have a conversation with dad....

    It will be ok...


  • Thx you AVB x

  • A barium swallow test and meeting with a speech therapist over the results as Mrs. Birke advises it a good first step. My guy had excellent results from exercises that helped him swallow more mindfully. They have kept him eating normally now years after the period when choking was bad. This doesn't help everyone, but was great for us! Good luck! Ec

  • Thx Ec

    I've just requested a referal from the GP for a speech therapist and I'm gonna google this barium swallow test! X


  • Awe bless you Shasha!! Big hugs x

  • Brian has to have all his fluids thickend or he ends up asperating on them. Thin fluids have a tendency to go down the wrong way. He has most of his food pureed. But every now and again we do risk feed. What sort of food does your dad eat now. Jxx

  • Thx J

    You've just made it click on my brain!! As in thin fluids, thx you!

    Dad has all food soft n mashed, ie yogurt, ice cream, angel delight, rice, mash potatoes, soft salmon, porridge, occasional toast (dunno if that's good really), tonight he coughed n spluttered with rice, drinks still 'normal' drinks, ie ribena, water, milky coffee, milk share oh yeah and fortisip x

  • Hello

    I was told no rice, corn,scrambled eggs . Just a few of many and the rest is trail and error .

    Dee in BC

  • Yes we was told no rice.... sweetcorn and no peas........ i think with the peas and sweetcorn it's because of the outer skin. Janexx

  • Very interesting thx you Jane x

  • Thx u Dee x

  • My love experienced this for many years, a sign of aspirating into the lungs though he never developed aspiration pneumonia. He refused the PEG, then later wanted one but by then it was too late. His nervous system at end stage was shutting down so digestion was too. At the end stage, without the ability to swallow or digest, there was rapid weight loss that ended in his recent death while on hospice. Thickened liquids would prevent aspiration into the lungs but this was not pleasurable so my love chose not to use them. There are coughing techniques and tucking of the head while swallowing that close the airway while swallowing. At end stage, my love needed reminders in a mediated eating situation as he would forget to do this. Speech therapists can teach these techniquesand print the steps so they are visually present during eating.

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