Conquering IDDSI in Acute Care: Successes & Challenges

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The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative is a global effort to standardize terminology and test methods for the dysphagia diet. The promise is better research and better patient outcomes. The diet is ASHA endorsed and is the process of being implemented across the country. In this 2-hour course we cover standardized test methods, testing of foods, a step by step process on how to implement IDDSI in acute care and provide real life experiences from an SLP who has implemented IDDSI across a hospital network. We also send out a webinar kit for a hands-on experience.

Key Learning Outcomes:

As a result of this presentation, the participant will be able to:

  1. Obtain a general overview of the IDDSI implementation process.
  2. Establish guidelines and a plan for implementing IDDSI in your facility.
  3. Utilize IDDSI standardized testing methods to evaluate current menu items.


Time Ordered Agenda:

 5 minutes Housekeeping, introduce speaker and background
 5 minutes What we already know: IDDSI framework, testing methods and flow test
20 minutes Review 8 IDDSI Testing Methods
20 minutes Test Foods
20 minutes Implementation in Acute Care – Establish IDDSI Focus Group, Review Current State, Review Food Lab Process, Data Collection, Food Inventory
20 minutes Establishing Work Groups and Review Steps to IDDSI Implementation
30 minutes Conclusions and Questions and Answers

Total time: 120 min

About the Presenters:

Presenter #1: John L. Holahan

John L Holahan is President and Founder of SimplyThick, LLC. Mr. Holahan is also the inventor of the company’s patented thickener – SimplyThick. He graduated from the University of Minnesota a B.S. in Paper Science and Engineering in 1992. In 2001, Mr. Holahan graduated from the Executive MBA program at Washington University in St. Louis. As part of his academic career he has been elected to both the honor societies for forestry and business – Xi Sigma Pi and Beta Gamma Sigma. Mr. Holahan has worked with thickeners – and not just in healthcare – for his entire business career. Initially he worked for Kelco, a thickener company owned by Merck and eventually sold to Monsanto, where he became an expert in several industrial thickeners. During his MBA, Mr. Holahan developed the business plan for SimplyThick and upon graduation in 2001, founded the company and has worked there ever since.


President and Founder of SimplyThick, LLC. Paid by SimplyThick.
SimplyThick, LLC is a financial supporter of IDDSI but has no input on the content or direction of IDDSI.
Mr. Holahan is a member of the Canadian IDDSI Expert Reference Group.

Presenter #2: Laurie Berger, MBA RD LD

Laurie Berger, MBA RD LD is a Regional Manager for Simplythick LLC in the Midwest Region. She works with acute, long term care and chain accounts, and distribution and home healthcare customers in educating on dysphagia and the use of Simplythick.
Laurie earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics and Restaurant Hotel Management from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and her Masters of Business Administration with a Marketing emphasis from Webster University in St. Louis, MO.
Laurie is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. Besides working in the dysphagia area for the last 18 years, Laurie has worked in various areas in nutrition and food service, including sales and marketing for adult and pediatric medical nutritional products, soy protein products, as a clinical dietitian and in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
Laurie is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Missouri Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also a member of Dietitians in Health Care Communities, Medical Nutrition Practice Group, Dietitians in Business and Communications and Clinical Nutrition Management.
Laurie lives in St. Louis and in normal times likes international travel, hiking, taking walks, attending sporting and theatre events, eating at ethnic restaurants and reading.


Regional Manager, SimplyThick, LLC. Paid by SimplyThick, LLC
SimplyThick, LLC is a financial supporter of IDDSI.

Presenter #3: Katlyn Baker, M.S., CCC-SLP

Katlyn Baker, M.S., CCC-SLP is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist who graduated from the College of Saint Rose with both her Bachelors and Masters in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Katlyn began her career in the Capital District of NY, gaining experience in acute care, long term care, and outpatient settings. Katlyn developed a passion for caring for patients with head and neck cancer and worked closely with patients undergoing chemo therapy and radiation treatment. Katlyn identified very early on the need for improved diet modification to support patients with acute and chronic dysphagia.

After having their daughter in 2017, Katlyn and her fiancé, Dan returned to her roots, moving back to CT for career advancement and to be closer to family. Katlyn took a position with Hartford Healthcare where she works at an inpatient speech pathologist in a level one trauma center. Katlyn has continued her passion in acute care speech pathology. As part of the surgery and trauma team she continues her passion for caring for others and focusing on acute post-surgical treatment of speech, voice and swallowing disorders.

Katlyn is a long term member of the American Speech and Hearing Association and recently the US & Territories IDDSI Reference Group (USTIRG), supporting the only evidenced based framework to modified diets.

Katlyn was offered the opportunity to become the project lead for the implementation of IDDSI at Hartford Healthcare. Having supported a system wide transition of modified diets in the past, Katlyn eagerly accepted the challenge of mastering the IDDSI framework, adoption and implementation across the state wide system. Over the course of approximately 2 years and a global pandemic, Katlyn supported the transition of IDDSI in 7 acute care hospitals, 3 long term care sites, an inpatient rehab hospital, over 30 outpatient locations and a home care division. Katlyn has spent the last year and a half presenting her implementation process in CT and neighboring states to support the ongoing adoption of IDDSI across the US.


Receive a salary from Hartford Healthcare Rehabilitation Network

Sponsor Disclosure:

This course is presented by CEU-Espresso, Inc.

Content Disclosure:

This learning event does not focus exclusively on any specific product or service

To earn CE Credits the participant must attend the full two-hour course and answer 80% of quiz questions correctly.
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The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.
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ASHA CE Provider approval and use of the Brand Block does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products or clinical procedures.