DYSPHAGIA, SAFE SWALLOWING AND MEALTIME MANAGEMENT
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission releases Practice Alerts for Providers to help support people with disability as emerging issues are identified.
Dysphagia is a medical term for any difficulty with swallowing. It is associated with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions. People with disability who have dysphagia are more likely to die from choking or respiratory illnesses or have serious health complications because of poor management of dysphagia.
This practice alert explains the risks associated with dysphagia, how to support NDIS participants with dysphagia, and provider obligations.
- ‘Dysphagia’ is difficulty with swallowing.
- NDIS providers have obligations to provide competent and safe supports to participants with dysphagia and manage the associated risks
- Symptoms include: difficulty biting or chewing on food, coughing or choking on food or fluid, and food or drink falling from a person’s mouth.
- Dysphagia symptoms can worsen as people get older.
- Dysphagia is associated with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions.
- People with disability who have dysphagia are more likely to die from choking or respiratory illnesses or have serious health complications because of poor management of dysphagia.
- Training and knowledge about identifying and managing swallowing problems can minimise risks of serious health complications and improve a person’s mealtime-related quality of life.
- A proper assessment of a person’s swallowing and nutritional needs can reduce the negative impacts of dysphagia and improve a person’s safety and quality of life
Provider obligations related to dysphagia
NDIS Code of Conduct
You must comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct when providing supports or services to NDIS participants with dysphagia or swallowing difficulties
The NDIS Code of Conduct requires all NDIS providers and workers who deliver NDIS supports to NDIS participants to, among other things:
- provide supports and services in a safe and competent manner with care and skill
- promptly take steps to raise and act on concerns about matters that might have an impact on the quality and safety of supports provided to people with disability.
NDIS Practice Standards
If you are a registered NDIS provider, you also have obligations under the NDIS Practice Standards, as part of your conditions of registration, that relate to the delivery of safe, quality supports and services, and the management of risks associated with the supports you provide to NDIS participants. The NDIS Commission’s guidance on the NDIS Practice Standards and Quality Indicators provides a further resource to assist registered NDIS providers understand their obligations.
The NDIS Practice Standards that are most relevant to this alert include:
- Access to appropriate supports: Each participant can access supports appropriate for their needs
- Safe environment for supports: Each participant can access supports in a safe environment which is appropriate for their needs
- Risk Management: Risks to participants are identified and managed.
- Quality Management: Each participant benefits from a quality management system relevant and proportionate to the size and scale of the provider, which promotes continuous improvement of support delivery.
- Information Management: Each participant’s information is managed to ensure that it is identifiable, accurately recorded, current and confidential. Each participant’s information is easily accessible to the participant and appropriately utilised by relevant workers.
- Incident Management: Each participant is safeguarded by the provider’s incident management system, ensuring that incidents are acknowledged, respond to, well-managed and learned from.
- Human Resource Management: Each participant’s support needs are met by workers who are competent to carry out their role and have the relevant expertise, experience and qualifications to provide supports
The above information is taken as an extract from the alert.
Akadia is able to assist you meet your obligations through comprehensive staff training facilitated by a qualified industry experts. All clinical training is delivered by highly experienced registered health care practitioners.