OMNI working to standardize food service for residents on dysphagia diets

Pictured above, a diagram of the IDDSI framework, which OMNI is working towards implementing.

Organization will become an early adopter of IDDSI framework, in an effort to enhance quality and safety

OMNI Health Care is embarking on a project to adopt the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI), a worldwide framework for creating consistent definitions of thickened fluids and texture-modified foods, in an effort to enhance food quality and safety in its 18 long-term care homes.

Registered dietitian and IDDSI co-chair Peter Lam (pictured above) gave a presentation to OMNI managers on June 1 during the Quality Forum.

Every country uses different terminologies and definitions for thickened fluids and texture-modified foods. There are even different terminologies among long-term care and hospital settings.

This disparity can create confusion for people working in food services departments in health-care settings and lead to error. The IDDSI framework aims to mitigate such confusion.

The IDDSI is working to align and standardize these definitions internationally to create safer health-care settings for people on dysphagia diets.

The IDDSI framework is made up of eight levels (0-7) for food and drink: Thin, slightly thick, mildly thick, moderately thick (liquidized), extremely thick (pureed), minced and moist, soft and bite-sized, and regular.

Each level is identified by labels, numbers and colour codes to improve safety for people on dysphagia diets. The colour coding used is even identifiable for people who are colour blind.

There is even a free mobile app of the IDDSI flow chart available on Android and Apple smartphones that food service workers can access.

OMNI is in the tail-end of the awareness phase of its implementation strategy and is moving into the preparation phase, says Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food services.

“OMNI is going to voluntarily adopt this program, and we would like to be early adopters,” he says.

“The target date is 2019 for this to roll out within our supplier-manufacturer setting, so we want to be harmonized with that transition from our industry partners. … This is all about (mitigating) risk and enhancing safety – that’s the main purpose.”

IDDSI co-chair and registered dietitian Peter Lam delivered a presentation to OMNI managers June 1 during OMNI’s Quality Forum. In his presentation, Lam provided an overview of IDDSI and its potential for enhancing safety and quality for people on dysphagia diets.

Weber adds that a key strength for OMNI in adopting IDDSI is the skill sets managers and front-line staff members bring to the table.

“We’re an agile company when it comes to initiatives and best practice and pilot projects – we have a lot of experience doing these things,” he says.

“We’re going to use the skills and knowledge of all the people in our homes to develop and implement this. We will create champions in each home and then also a broader cross-OMNI panel to guide and collect information from all of the homes (later this year).”

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