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Thickening Tea with Care: Making It Just Right for Residents and Why It's Important

Cup of tea thickened for residents with swallowing difficulties

Whether it's a morning ritual or an afternoon pick-me-up, a good cup of tea can work wonders. But what if you're in aged care and have trouble swallowing? Fear not!


This blog post talks about thickening tea using the IDDSI (International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative) method, ensuring that everyone can enjoy their favourite brew safely and comfortably.


So, what's the deal with thickening tea? Well, for some residents, swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) can make thin liquids like tea a choking hazard. But that doesn't mean they have to miss out on the joy of a cuppa. By thickening tea to the appropriate consistency, it becomes safer and easier to swallow, allowing residents to enjoy their tea without worry.


Enter the IDDSI method. This standardized system provides clear guidelines for thickening fluids to different consistencies, making it easier for caregivers and kitchen staff to prepare meals and drinks that meet each resident's needs. For tea, we're primarily looking at Level 2 (Mildly Thick) and Level 3 (Moderately Thick).


IDDSI has all of the information for thickening fluids on their website, coupled with complete reference guides for residents with feeding, chewing or swallowing difficulties. Watch the video below for flow test instructions to test tea that has been thickened.



It's important to remember a few things when thickening tea:
  1. Consistency is Key: Always follow the IDDSI guidelines to ensure that the tea is the right thickness for each resident's needs.

  2. Temperature Matters: Make sure the tea is at a safe temperature before serving. No one wants a scalded tongue!

  3. Variety is the Spice of Life: Just because the tea is thickened doesn't mean it has to be boring. Experiment with different teas and flavours to keep things interesting.


Thickened tea may not be exactly the same as what residents are used to, but it's a small adjustment that can make a big difference in the lives of aged care residents with swallowing difficulties.


A warm cup of tea is more than just a beverage—it's a hug in a mug. Cheers to tea time, and to making sure everyone can join in the sipping!

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