OMNI ‘in really great shape’ with IDDSI implementation plan

Organization on pace to have framework in place by 2019 that will create universal terminology surrounding liquid and texture-modified diets for residents with dysphagia

OMNI Health Care’s operations manager of nutrition and food service Chris Weber says the nutritional care departments in OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes have entered the awareness phase of the implementation of the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) framework, and the organization is on pace to have implementation complete by the end of 2019.

Dysphagia, the medical term for swallowing difficulty, is a common condition among residents living in long-term care homes. The condition affects an estimated eight per cent of the general population, according to the IDDSI website.

Because of the prevalence of dysphagia worldwide and the fact that countries have different terminology for describing the thickness of texture modified foods, IDDSI has created a framework centred on a common language for classifying thickness levels.

OMNI is adopting this framework as part of its commitment to continued quality improvement.

At the core of the framework is an eight-level scale, numbered zero to seven, measuring the thickness of meals. Zero refers to thin liquids, like water or fruit juices; Level 7 is regular food.

Weber says homes are in the process of putting together IDDSI teams consisting of staff, managers, residents and family members within all of the homes.

With IDDSI teams in place, the focus is going to be on testing methods and getting people familiar with the methods and understanding the framework and the terminology, Weber says.

Education about IDDSI and its testing methods have started. The plan is to launch fluid testing methods in the early part of 2019 and then texture-modified food testing methods in the latter part of 2019.

“We are in really great shape,” Weber says of the progress. “We’re right on track with (IDDSI implementation), and we are getting a lot of great ideas coming into the homes.”

Not only is OMNI making great strides implementing the IDDSI framework, Weber says the organization will be among the first Canadian long-term care operators to adopt the protocols.

“We’re pretty excited about that,” he says.

Visit the IDDSI website to learn more about the organization.

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