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Oral eating and drinking

Information on how education and care services provide proactive and reactive management for children and young people that require oral eating and drinking support.

Health support for oral eating and drinking

The Oral eating and drinking in education and care procedure (PDF 876KB) describes how education and care services plan and manage children and young people that require oral eating and drinking support.

Oral eating and drinking care plan

An oral eating and drinking care plan - HSP210 (DOC 254KB) is completed by a speech pathologist or treating health professional, in consultation with parents or legal guardians, when a child or young person requires their food or fluid consistency to be modified or needs to be fed.

Children and young people generally do not require an oral eating and drinking care plan for food phobias, eating disorders or oral sensitivities.

Health support agreement

Where a child or young person has an oral eating and drinking care plan and requires support and assistance a health support agreement - HSP120 (DOC 243KB) and safety and risk management plan - HSP121 (DOC 147KB) must be completed.  

Where a child or young person has food phobias, eating disorders or oral sensitivities a health support agreement can be developed. This does not always require an oral eating and drinking care plan.

Health support agreement are completed by the parent and education or care service to document specific risk minimisation strategies, individualised management and treatment for the child in the context of the education or care service.

The Health Support Agreement should clearly identify cultural, spiritual and language needs.

Oral eating and drinking observation log

An oral eating and drinking observation log - HSP211 (DOC 150KB) is used as a communication tool between education or care services, parents and health professionals to:

  • communicate with parents or legal guardians (where changes in mealtime or eating and drinking abilities are noted; this may include both positive and negative changes) 
  • initiate a review of the Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plan 
  • provide information and/or evidence for the review of the Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plan (may be used to document eating and drinking all observations over a specific timeframe ie 1 day, 5 days).

The observation log can be completed by education and care staff when a change is noted in the child or young person’s eating and drinking abilities or behaviours during or after mealtimes, for example:

  • a change in the ability to chew or swallow or manage food and drink
  • tires, is increasingly fatigued or loses consciousness during or after meals
  • frequent and repeated coughing, spluttering, gagging, gurgling, near choking, or distress during or after meals
  • rapid weight loss.

Supply of food and equipment

Where the oral eating and drinking care plan identifies specialised food, thickeners or equipment for oral eating and drinking management it is the parent or legal guardian’s responsibility to provide this.

Positioning

Good positioning is essential for safe eating, drinking and swallowing. The child or young person’s oral eating and drinking care plan will describe the specific requirements regarding positioning if required.

Where transfer and positioning needs are identified completion of a transfer and positioning care plan - HSP220 (DOC 433KB) is recommended.

First aid

Education and care staff must provide first aid measures following any relevant care plan, first aid plan or health support agreement. Where this does not specify an individualised first aid response standard first aid is followed.

Choking is a medical emergency. Phone 000 (Ambulance)

Pulmonary aspiration is a medical emergency that can result in death from asphyxiation within minutes. Phone 000 (Ambulance)

Some children and young people with oral sensitivities may consume non-food items. Seek medical attention immediately if a harmful substance has been consumed. 

  • An ambulance (000) must be called for life threatening or urgent medical treatment.
  • The Poisons Information Centre (13 11 26) can be called for advice.

Individual first aid plan

An individual first aid plan - HSP124 (DOC 167KB) is completed by the health professional where the first aid response is NOT the standard first aid response for that health condition.

Training and education

All education and care staff, and particularly those providing support and assistance to children and young people with eating and drinking difficulties, are encouraged to undertake the Novita Children’s Services Oral Eating and Drinking Support (OEDS) Workshop. The workshop includes practical, relevant information about safe practices and worksite risk management for children and young people requiring assistance and support with oral eating and drinking.

The Women’s and Children’s Hospital Speech pathologists endorse the Queensland Health Paediatric Feeding and Swallowing online training. The department recommends education and care staff undertake this online training where they have a child or young person in their care that requires support for oral eating and drinking. 

Novita provide training or consultancy to support children where they have developed the oral eating and drinking care plan. Contact Central Intake Novita

  • Phone: 1300 668 482
  • Email: training [at] novita.org.au

Child and Youth Services  offer a range of training and education services as well as advice from Specialist Consultant to support children with disabilities. For further information on their services complete the online enquiry form.

The Ellyn Satter Institute has resources and links for education and care services that may assist education and care staff that care for a child or young person requiring oral eating and drinking support.

Feeding Matters have a range of webinars and virtual workshops that can be viewed on demand and utilised as learning opportunities to support and management children and young people requiring assistance with oral eating and drinking.

Resources

Care plans

Health support agreement

First aid

Planning and management tools

Contact

Disability Policy and Programs

Phone: 8226 1769
Email: education.specialeducation [at] sa.gov.au