Dysphagia is the medical word for when you find it hard to or can’t swallow. It can mean you have trouble eating, drinking or swallowing daily.
Anyone of any age may experience dysphagia, including young children. You are more likely to experience dysphagia if your disability affects your brain, spinal cord or nervous system.
If you have dysphagia you should talk to your doctor first. They can link you to health services that are paid for through Medicare.
You can continue to access health services from Medicare, even when you are a NDIS participant.
Learn more about the help you can get through the health system or other services.
Dysphagia supports are what we call disability-related health supports. We can only fund these supports if they directly relate to your disability and help you undertake activities involved in day-to-day life.
Learn more about what we mean by disability-related health supports.
Dysphagia supports we may fund include:
- low-cost assistive technology – this means equipment, technology, or devices to help you eat and drink
- thickener products
- help to prepare specific foods which you can safely eat
- a support worker to help you eat or drink safely if you can’t do this yourself because of your disability.
To help you manage dysphagia, we may also fund a speech pathologist to:
- make a mealtime management plan, sometimes called an oral eating and drinking care plan, which describes how you can eat and drink safely
- train your support workers, family or carers in your specific disability-related dysphagia support needs.
We don’t fund:
- supports that aren’t directly related to your disability - for example, temporary dysphagia caused by a short-term illness or surgery, not your disability
- supports you get through the education system, like a teacher who supervises you to eat and drink safely while at school.
- supports for dysphagia while you are in hospital - the health system is responsible for this.
The health system is also responsible for any tests to diagnose dysphagia.