• The Problem

    Thickened fluids are commonly prescribed to reduce the risk of aspiration and enhance swallowing safety in dysphagic patients who have difficulty controlling and managing thin fluids. Inconsistency in the labelling, definition, preparation and delivery of thickened fluids by healthcare workers increases the risks of patients experiencing unnecessary and avoidable choking, aspiration pneumonia and dehydration.

    Currently there are no training programmes or standardised education tool for thickening fluids available for nurses or healthcare assistants. This contributes to great variability and frequent errors in the day-to-day preparation and delivery of thickened liquids.

  • The Solution

    HELIX produced a series of posters and stickers that use illustration and clear labelling to demonstrate the correct procedures for preparing thickened fluids to a range of specified consistencies. The posters can be displayed on wards, and stickers can be placed on appropriate storage cupboards and containers. HELIX is also producing an app version of the guidance.