Techniques With Food

Soft Foods

Some patients do well by gulping the pill straight down with a spoonful of soft food, such as applesauce, pudding, or yogurt. Just drop the pill into the food and have your patient swallow the whole thing without chewing. [Applesauce 1 Video] [Applesauce 2 Video] [Banana Video] [Gogurt Video] [Pudding 1 Video] [Pudding 2 Video]

A very popular choice is flavored gelatin, such as JELL-O. Take a spoonful with the pill, and it should slide right down your patient’s throat. If this works, you can purchase pre-made JELL-O snack cups, which can be convenient for practicing.

Another option is peanut butter. Place the pill in the middle of a spoon of peanut butter and let your patient swallow it all at once.

Other Foods

You can have your patient practice swallowing mandarin orange segments. The texture of this fruit is ‘slimy’ which may help. Once he is able to do that, you can try to tuck the pills inside the mandarin orange segments and the segments can then be swallowed whole — with the pill embedded. [Mandarin Orange Video - Part 1] [Mandarin Orange Video - Part 2]

Another technique is to have your patient first chew a cookie or cracker. When the cookie or cracker is chewed and ready to be swallowed, you can place the pill in and then the patient can swallow the cookie right along with the pill. Don't have your patient tilt his head back too far when swallowing as this can sometimes make it more difficult for the pill to go down.

This technique is sometimes accomplished with a small piece of bread. Have your patient chew a small piece of bread, and just before she swallows it have her put the pill in her mouth and swallow it with the bread. This gets around the feeling she might have that she can't swallow without chewing. If she still feels the need to chew, she can chew the edges of the wad of bread prior to swallowing. Make sure the wad is not too big to be a choking hazard.

Caution: Review any possible interactions between the medication and the type of soft foods that are being used. Also be careful to monitor the amount of food being used. Using too much of the soft food at one time could lead to choking.

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