A Unique Approach To Homecare

ALS Nutrition and Feeding

As the muscles that control chewing and swallowing weaken, eating and drinking become more difficult, until they’re impossible to manage safely. At first, foods with a softer consistency can still be swallowed safely. Some people with ALS find that blenderized foods can be sucked through a large, sturdy straw more easily than spooned up, probably because the muscles that move food from the front to the back of the mouth aren’t as necessary with this technique. As throat muscles weaken, the possibility of choking on food or “swallowing the wrong way” increases markedly and poses a real danger.

Swallowing the wrong way means inhaling food or liquid into the lungs instead of routing it down the esophagus into the stomach. Doctors call this aspiration, and it can cause respiratory infection or a frightening choking sensation. Also, when eating is laborious, it’s usually difficult for the person to take in enough calories to maintain weight. This is especially true if respiratory muscles are also weakened (which they usually are at this stage), requiring the person to expend enormous energy (burn calories) just to breathe.

A healthcare professional can instruct you on using soft or blenderized foods. When throat muscles weaken to the point where choking spells occur often and the patient is losing weight, his doctor will probably raise the question of a feeding tube, known as a gastrostomy tube. This is a tube that’s inserted directly into the stomach (or occasionally into the small intestine, in which case it’s called a jejunostomy tube). Then food can be put down a feeding tube.

Download the ALS - Nutrition and Feeding PDF

  • Qualicare

    "Without the superb services provided by all members of her team, my husband’s recovery would not have been as complete."

    - E. Sokolove Fine

  • Qualicare

    "The Qualicare staff keeps me well informed."

    - Clare L.

  • Qualicare

    "They are always ready and able to provide the support that you need"

    - Jo

  • Qualicare

    "I know I speak for the rest of my family when I say that the care and compassion that all of you at Qualicare Burlington have provided for our mom has been the best that we could expect."

    - Cynthia M.

  • Qualicare

    "Qualicare coordinates all of the fine details of our needs"

    - Sari & Mitch S.

  • Qualicare

    "From the start you were amazing!"

    - Beth E.

  • Qualicare

    "We have always found the management staff highly receptive to questions or comments."

    - Frances O.

  • Qualicare

    "I am grateful for your help and would recommend your services to anyone needing assistance. Job well done!"

    - Lindy

  • Qualicare

    "Our Qualicare caregivers are attentive and caring"

    - Anne F.

  • Qualicare

    "Qualicare staff are kind, courteous, respectful and professional."

    - Michael D.

View More Client Testimonials