The third UK IDDSI Festival sold out all 250 delegate tickets in record time this year and was a huge success across the board. The format of these festivals is far more interactive than traditional academic conferences or trade fairs, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders in one room. This resulted in a whole day of dialogue between 13 commercial suppliers and caterers with exhibition booths, 4 professional and clinical bodies, and hundreds of stakeholders involved with food and drink products for people with swallowing disorders.
This year’s event focused on working together to provide safe and dignified dining.
Keynote presentations included: Kathleen Graham from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists discussing the current and in-progress position statements on the use of drink thickeners. Mindy Bhalla from the CQC speaking about regulation and the ways they can support care providers. On the same stage the delegates and exhibitors watched live kitchen skills demonstrations from chefs including Niamh Condon (“Dining with Dignity”) and James Ball & Preston Walker from Oak House Kitchen. Interspersed with these presentations, the cabaret-style audience sampled inspirational examples of foods and drinks from thick mocktails to delicious and nutritious fortified snacks. Renowned Speech and Language Therapists Hannah Crawford and Sam Bradley provoked deep thought on patients’ mental capacity and exploring risks which were far more than choking and aspiration. Dietician Alison Smith showed joined up thinking too as a large panel of speakers debated issues in Q & A sessions with the audience with some emotional case studies that reminded us of the importance of high-quality care for all.
All the while, commercial exhibitors leading in modification and dignified dining demonstrated exemplary products and services including non-melt ice creams, flavoured “air” foams, laboratory grade testing equipment and the innovative drinks machine which dispensed hot and cold thickened drinks.
IDDSI Chair and CEO Peter Lam, RD, and board member Dr Ben Hanson interlinked the day and made themselves accessible (and hospitable) to help all delegates enjoy and make the most from the day. “I am absolutely delighted,” said Ben Hanson, “with the enthusiasm and activity from everyone in this hall. The organisation has been terrific and so smooth all day. With long waiting lists for delegates and suppliers, you can bet we’ll be hosting another event next year!”
It was great to hear that we can soon buy the IDDSI funnel through a UK outlet.