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Introduction

In 2015, a group of international experts started developing a classification system and testing methods to design standardized definitions and common terminologies for texture-adapted food and thickness-adapted drinks. Those should be established worldwide. The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) framework consists of a continuum of 8 levels (0 – 7), where drinks are measured from levels 0 – 4, while foods are measured from levels 3 – 7. The IDDSI Framework provides a common terminology to describe food textures and drink thickness.

The IDDSI framework

IDDSI Testing Methods are intended to confirm the flow or textural characteristics of a particular product at the time of testing. Here is a video that demonstrates the IDDSI Flow Test Instructions:

Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--KHFRql39M

Reference Group

Also in Austria, various professional associations have decided to support the IDDSI and create the Austrian IDDSI reference group, a cross-sector collaboration of professionals who promote, monitor, support, advocate and communicate recommendations for the implementation of IDDSI standards within the Austrian health care system, its providers and organizations, with the aim to provide adequate care for patients living with dysphagia.

Current Implementation Status

On June 25th, 2020 the final German translation of the IDDSI framework and its detailed definitions were published after a thorough review by experts in the field. The framework is supported by the Austrian Association of Speech and Language Pathologists (logopädieaustria) and the Austrian Association of Dietitians. Currently, various regional health care providers are implementing the IDDSI framework. However, there exists no nationwide implementation consensus yet. Institutions throughout Austria are working on the implementation of the IDDSI system through an interdisciplinary network. In these interdisciplinary working groups dietitians, speech therapists, kitchen staff, nursing staff, and medical professionals are involved. 

At the University Hospital Graz, the IDDSI framework is currently being implemented to provide better care for patients with dysphagia. The IDDSI terminology is already used in the diagnostic of patients with dysphagia. After the implementation of the project, the food textures and drink thickness should follow the IDDSI terminology.

Another aim is also to increase the knowledge of IDDSI at the hospital. At the beginning of the project, an employee survey was initiated to figure out how many of the healthcare professionals at University Hospital Graz possess some knowledge on IDDSI, as shown in the “Monitor” flowchart. All of them will receive training in the following years to learn more about the IDDSI framework.  After the conclusion of the trainings, the IDDSI team will repeat the survey to evaluate the increase of awareness.

Monitor Flowchart

Julia Traub Communication Coordinator Austria

Head of clinical medical nutrition, University Hospital Graz

Contact Julia for inquiries on Austrian campaign activities and for publishing of your Good Practice on this website.

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