Many products on the market today are not usefully classed in terms of texture. Of course, there are labels such as “smooth”, “firm” and “purée” but the texture is not expressed using rheological data (extent to which the food is sticky or runny).
A standardised approach with accepted descriptors ensures patient safety.
That’s why Nutrisens introduced the DSA (Dysphagia Standardised Assessment) Pack. It contains a guide to assessing swallowing ability, designed to detect the risk of food entering the windpipe using a small volume of liquid administered and a grade (that corresponds to a described texture with measured viscosity and run threshold and a flavour, temperature and acidity that stimulate sensory receptors.
The D.S.A pack includes 4 grades ranging from still water to thickened water. Each grade has been formulated to stimulate the mouth and throat and slow down the progression of the liquid. Thickness and taste both have a positive effect on swallowing and help avoid choking. Thicker textures progress slowly and lower the risk of fluids “going down the wrong way”.
This test helps choose the appropriate grade for drinks according to patients’ ability to swallow, so they can drink in safety. The DSA Pack was developed with the help of Michel Guatterie, dysphagia expert and therapist. It is designed to determine whether patients can swallow liquids (textured or not) or require tube hydration.
*DSA : Dysphagia Standardized Assessment