The IDDSI Framework

IDDSI stands for International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative. It means we have a shared language to describe food and drink consistencies.

This is used for people with dysphagia. If you or someone you know has dysphagia, the speech and language therapist may have recommended texture modified food and drink. The IDDSI Framework levels that the person with dysphagia needs will be in the speech and language therapist’s “swallow recommendations”, a report or in the nutrition care plan.

IDDSI is just part of a set of recommendations. There will be other advice that the speech and language therapist gives too.

The IDDSI Framework Levels

There are 8 Levels for food and drink. Food is referred to as ‘diet’ and ‘drinks’ as liquids or fluids. And some foods are also liquid or runny. Diet does not mean ‘on a diet’ as in purposefully losing weight, it’s just the medical term for type of food recommended.

As you can see, there are two triangles. The upside-down triangle is for describing foods, and the rightway-up triangle is for describing drinks.

The Levels 3 and 4 appear in both triangles as some people with dysphagia need drinks that are almost like food consistencies.

Each level has its own colour and number. TIP! If you see a triangle with the number 3 in yellow or 4 in green, you need to check which way up the triangle is and what the description says. Then you know if it relates to food or drink. Otherwise, someone could be recommended normal drinks and Level 4 purée diet but you accidentally give them Level 4 extremely thick drinks. Literally, not recommended!

Here are the separate triangles for each Level of food and drink. It’s really useful to have these in your organisation on posters, menu and kitchen lists, food trays and meal mats and so on.

Knowing what each level should look like, how to make it and how to test it is really important. A mistake could result in serious consequences for someone with dysphagia.

The IDDSI website itself has a lot of information on it. We’ve brought together some of the resources that explain each level, how to test it and how to make it. Keep your eyes peeled as these will be published soon!

© The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative 2019 @ Licensed under the CreativeCommons Attribution Sharealike 4.0 License Derivative works extending beyond language translation are NOT PERMITTED.

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