AHP26 Provide support to individuals to develop their skills in managing dysphagia


This workforce competence covers working under the direction of an appropriate specialist, to support individuals participating in therapy programmes to restore or maintain optimum independence in the management of dysphagia.

Users of this competence will need to ensure that practice reflects up to date information and policies.

Knowledge and Understanding

You must be able to apply:

Legislation, Policy and good practice

K1 A factual awareness of the current European and national legislation, national guidelines and local policies which affect your work practice in relation to supporting individuals in managing dysphagia

K2 A working understanding of your responsibilities under the current European, national and local legislation and policies on your actions within the care environment

K3 A working understanding of why it is necessary to obtain informed consent prior to working with an individual and the methods used to achieve this where the individual is not able to give their informed consent directly (i.e. because they do not have the capacity to give consent)

K4 A working understanding of the policies and guidance which clarify your scope of practice and the relationship between yourself and the practitioner in terms of delegation and supervision

Care and Support of the individual

K5 A working understanding of why you should seek to support and encourage the individual to promote their own health and wellbeing and how this might be achieved

K6 A working understanding of the sorts of secondary difficulties that can arise in individuals suffering from dysphagia, how to recognise their emergence and what action you should take to deal with them

K7 A working understanding of the importance of communication that is responsive to the needs of the individual

K8 A working understanding of the types of information and advice which you are able provide the individual with according to your scope of practice

Procedures and techniques

K9 A working understanding of the types of activities that can be carried out with people in order to help them develop swallowing skills

K10 A working understanding of the types of information that should be fed back to the individual's therapist and/or the rest of the care team, and when and how you should do this

Records and Documentation

K11 A working understanding of the information that should be recorded and the importance of doing this contemporaneously

K12 A working understanding of record keeping practices and procedures in relation to diagnostic and therapeutic programmes/treatments

Performance Criteria

You need to:

1. obtain informed consent from the individual before carrying out the agreed treatment programme

2. carry out the skill development activities correctly as specified in the individual's care programme using the methods directed by the therapist

3. seek immediate advice and assistance from a relevant contact where the level of support needed by the individual is beyond your scope of practice

4. provide the individual with relevant information and advice, as instructed by an appropriate specialist, at a level and pace that is appropriate to their:

a) level of understanding

b) culture and background

c) preferred ways of communicating

d) needs

5. refer any questions which are outside your scope of practice to answer to a relevant member of the individual's care team

6. provide the individual with sufficient time, opportunity and encouragement to practice existing and newly developed skills, in accordance with the individual's care programme

7. encourage the individual to develop their knowledge and understanding of dysphagia and the techniques used in its management

8. support and encourage the individual to promote their own health and wellbeing and be as self managing as possible

9. provide oral intake in the consistency and appearance identified in the individuals care programme

10. provide accurate and prompt feedback to the individual's therapist and care team to support them in their effective future planning of the individual's care

11. keep accurate, complete and legible records of the support provided and the individual's response to it, in line with organisational policy

Additional Information

This workforce competence has been developed for Allied Health Profession Support by Skills for Health.
AHP26 Provide support to individuals to develop their skills in managing dysphagia
Final version approved © copyright Skills For Health
For competence management tools visit tools.skillsforhealth.org.uk