Resources to support safer modification of food and drink

A resource alert has been issued to eliminate use of the imprecise term ‘soft diet’ and assist providers with safe transition to the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) framework, which introduces standard terminology to describe texture modification for food and drink.

Patient Safety Alerts are shared rapidly with healthcare providers via the Central Alerting System (CAS).

About this alert

Food texture modification is widely accepted as a way to manage dysphagia (the medical term for swallowing difficulties), as well as other patients who may, for example, have lost dentures, jaw surgery, frailty or impulsive eating.

There continues to be local variation in the terminology used to describe the thickness of modified food and fluids. This can lead to confusion for patients, carers and healthcare staff; and patient safety incidents have been reported where this has caused harm, particularly when imprecise terms such as ‘soft diet’ have been used.

The IDDSI has developed a standard terminology with a colour and numerical index to describe texture modification for food and drink.

This alert provides links to a range of resources to assist providers with the transition to the IDDSI framework to standardise terminology and eliminate the use of imprecise terms, including ‘soft diet’. 

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