Saachi Patel is delighted to announce her forthcoming event, 7-Day Puree Challenge:
Post Event Update
Saachi Patel, 21 March 2018
I learned that there were many reasons why patients on a dysphagia diet might not follow the recommendations, or at least find it difficult to. It’s not just about being bored with the smooth texture, it is much more than that. I experienced loss of interest in the food, social isolation when I went out, lack of flexibility and just missed the experience of eating normal food. Meal times just became a chore.
I lost over 2kg in weight over the week, which for me raised lots of concerns. I ate breakfast, lunch, dinner plus snacks and desserts but was so full that it was hard to continue eating so much throughout the week. It made me think, that if I lost so much weight in a week, what I can do for patients who have to follow this diet in hospital to stop them from losing weight.
The meals I ate tasted like they should, it was just unusual to have everything blended. During the week I got bored and tried to cook myself but the whole process of blending, sieving and cooking was extremely tedious – no wonder people buy them in!
When things got tough – and they did - I thought to myself, I am doing this to raise awareness and money. I knew there was a date where I was going to start eating again, but what gets a patient through this as many have to do this for life?
Over the week, I achieved what I set out to do. Not only by raising over £1000 for One Kind Act, but got everyone that I knew talking about dysphagia, whether it was people asking what it is, why I was doing it or what I was going to be eating that day. This whole experience has made me think about some of the emotions that patients might go through by being on this diet and overall allowed me to put myself in their shoes.
“Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world” - Obama
Saachi Patel, 22nd February 2018
Dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), is a common side effect of several conditions that affect our nervous system e.g. stroke, head injury, multiple sclerosis or dementia. Stroke Association reports that almost half of people who have a stroke will have some difficulties with swallowing in the first few weeks.
Patients who are unable to swallow normal meals safely have to follow a “dysphagia diet” and as a result can be at risk of malnutrition. This can be for various reasons including texture fatigue, going off meals, reduced appetite, poor nutritional content of meals or lack of assistance or encouragement. Incorrect identification and poor compliance to the recommended diet can lead to food and drink entering a patient’s airways and lungs, causing aspiration leading to infections and pneumonia.
There are currently four dysphagia diet food textures: Texture B (Thin Purée), Texture C (Thick Purée), Texture D (Pre – Mashed) and Texture E (Fork Mashable), however April 2019 will see the introduction of a new set of internationally recognised descriptors designed to improve patient safety and provide a larger platform for conducting research studies.
Swallowing Awareness Day falls on 12th March 2018, and this year I have decided to take on the challenge of following a Texture C (Thick Purée) Diet for a week in the hope that this will allow me to better understand the physical and mental challenges our patients face when having to follow this restricted diet.
My professional aim as a Dietitian is to raise awareness of dysphagia and its impact on the patients we look after in hospital and the reasons why providing the correct meal is so integral to patient safety.
My personal aim is to raise money for One Kind Act (OKA), a charity I have chosen due to their hard work in supporting causes and raising money in aid of brain injury. Alisha, a very close friend of mine and associate of OKA, is a huge inspiration for taking on this challenge and although she did not suffer from dysphagia, she has faced challenges with aphasia, another common side effect of having a stroke.
Follow me @saachipatel4 for pictures of my meals!
Acknowledgement – A huge thank you to apetito who will be providing me with my puree meals for the week]
One Kind Act Changes Communities and lives of others globally who suffer as a result of Poverty of Health, Nutrition and Education and may have Fallen Through The Net of the larger charities. Learn More here