Dysphagia training

Speech and Language Therapy (SLT)

Difficulty swallowing safely and/or effectively can affect up to 75% of care home residents.

This training provides staff with the skills and competence to provide best practice in mouth care and eating and drinking.

Healthcare professionals who would like to complete this training can email esht.nhtrainingsalt@nhs.net to find out more about this free resource.

About dysphagia

Dysphagia can be temporary, resolving through rehabilitation, or it can deteriorate and persist becoming a permanent condition. The management of dysphagia often requires input from different members of the healthcare team including but not exclusive to speech and language therapists, dietitians, ENT, neurology or gastroenterology depending on the underlying cause.

Dysphagia is a symptom of a disease or condition rather than a disease or condition itself. It is most common in patients of stroke, dementia, progressive neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, respiratory conditions such as COPD and ageing and frailty.

Poor oral care has been linked to many secondary infections and illness including pneumonia, heart disease and diabetes.

About dysphagia training

This training is essential in providing staff with the skills and competence to provide best practice in mouthcare and eating and drinking. The training will enable the following standards to be met:

  • CQC: Regulation 14: Meeting nutritional and hydration needs
  • CQC: Regulation 9: Person centered care
  • IDDSI – International Dysphagia Diet
  • Eating, Drinking, Swallowing Competency Framework (EDSCF 2020) level 1 and 2
  • NICE quality standards: QS151 NG48

An experienced team delivers a three hour interactive dysphagia and mouthcare programme, covering relevant theory and practice, to provide attendees with the knowledge and skills they require to support people with swallowing difficulties. Case studies, videos and quizzes are used to enhance the learning experience.

The training is appropriate for staff who work with residents who have eating and drinking difficulties (dysphagia) as a result of neurological, ageing and oncology disorders, including dementia and frailty. It is not specific to people with learning disabilities or mental health disorders.

An overview of mouth care and the impact oral health can have on a person’s dignity and ability to function (eating, drinking, speaking) quality of life and wellbeing. Training will cover oral health and best practice in mouth care with practical advice and tips.

People with difficulty swallowing will often require referral on to speech and language therapy to ascertain the safest, least restrictive diet and fluid recommendations. Staff within the home should be provided with the skills to identify those patients requiring this specialist input. They should understand the rationale for recommendations and know how to follow them including making diet and fluids to the appropriate IDDSI levels, keeping residents safe, whilst enjoying eating and drinking.

The Inter-professional Dysphagia Framework (IDF) is an assessable competency framework, for developing the skills, knowledge, confidence and ability of registered and non-registered healthcare professionals and staff who form part of the care team to contribute more effectively in the identification of people with, and in the management of, eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia).

What does the course cover?

This training is free to access and delivered virtually through Microsoft Teams.

Training will cover:

  • What is a normal swallow and how age affects it?
  • What is dysphagia?
  • Aspiration- signs, symptoms, how to detect it and how to avoid it
  • The 6 guiding principles of “my eating and drinking matters”
  • The role of the speech and language therapist (SLT) and who can and how to refer to SLT for specialist support
  • What the SLT recommendations mean and why they are made
  • Eating and drinking at risk and patient choice
  • IDDSI terminology and detailed overview of each level
  • How to use thickening powder to modify fluids
  • Oral health and best practice in mouthcare with practical advice and tips

To book a place please email esht.nhtrainingsalt@nhs.net


On completion of the virtual training attendees will be sent a link to an online assessment. When submitted and passed, attendees will be sent a certificate of competency. It is recommended that this training is completed every three years to maintain competence.

Dysphagia training evaluation form

If you have recently attended dysphagia awareness and mouth care matters training please complete our evaluation form below:

Dysphagia Awareness and Mouth Care Matters Training feedback