Example of eating, drinking and swallowing policy
Speech and Language Therapy Department, Braidburn School and Nursery
Mealtimes are an integral part of the school day and provide an excellent opportunity for social interaction. Many of the pupils have complex eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties ( EDS) which are attributable to their neurological condition (eg. Cerebral palsy) or severe developmental delay. These pupils require careful management at mealtimes so that they can eat and drink safely (to avoid choking and aspiration) and where possible develop their oral motor skills. Some pupils have significant swallowing difficulties and may choke when eating or drinking. All staff must be aware of the risks of choking and how to minimise this risk. It is very important that the advice given is carefully followed to ensure safety. If any advice is not followed and the pupil's safety is at risk it is the responsibility of the speech & language therapist ( SLT) to inform either the school management team or the consultant paediatrician.
All pupils with EDS difficulties will be provided with an EDS profile compiled by the SLT and Occupational therapy teams and these will be kept in the area where the pupil has their lunch. The SLT will review each of these pupils at least once a term and update their EDS profiles accordingly. Any changes to the advice will be discussed jointly with the team members involved in the child/young persons care. The SLT will contact the parents as necessary.
The SLTs will provide specialist advice and training to school staff, parents, carers, staff from respite centres and Kidzcare. In school an annual up-date will be given on one of the in-service days to all the appropriate staff. All pupils should only be assisted at mealtimes by an appropriately trained member of staff. Ideally each pupil will have a limited number of helpers.
Each member of staff involved in assisting at mealtimes will be provided with a general EDS training session and then given hands-on training and supervision with a specific pupil. This will be carried out by the SLT. Initially the helper will observe an experienced helper, and then carry out a minimum of two joint feeding/drinking sessions. Follow up supervision will occur as required.
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