What is an Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plan (OEDCP)?
An OEDCP is a document which outlines the support needs for children with eating and drinking difficulties. It is completed and regularly reviewed by a speech pathologist in collaboration with parents and caregivers. An OEDCP may also be called a Mealtime Management Plan in some settings.

Why are OEDCPs important?
An OEDCP ensures clear, consistent care across multiple mealtime settings for children with eating and drinking difficulties. The overall goals of an OEDCP are to ensure safety during mealtimes, support adequate nourishment and hydration, and help maintain the child’s overall health and wellbeing.

What information is included in an OEDCP?
The OEDCP contains individualised information regarding a child’s eating and drinking support needs, including:

  • Level of supervision and assistance required for mealtimes.
  • Type of support needed, including equipment, positioning, mealtime processes.
  • Preparation and presentation of food and drink, including modifications to food texture or fluid thickness.
  • Strategies for supporting oral intake and minimising risk.
  • Communication strategies and needs.
  • Emergency response plan and emergency contacts.
  • Sometimes caregivers and staff may require additional training and information relevant to a child’s specific care needs. This can be provided by the speech pathologist completing the care plan either in-person or via telehealth.

Where is an OEDCP used?
An OEDCP is used in any setting where children participate in mealtimes with caregivers who are not their immediate family or guardians. This includes schools, childcare centres, day programs, camps and sporting programs, and in-home care provided by support workers.

Does my child need an OEDCP?
Your child may require an OEDCP if they meet one or more of the following:

  • Known risk of aspiration (food/ fluids entering the airway) or choking, with or without a underlying medical condition.
  • Tube fed, with oral intake of food and/or drink.
  • Modified food and/or fluid consistency.
  • Requires adult assistance for oral intake (e.g., spoon feeding).
  • Requires specific equipment, strategies or positioning in order to safely participate in a mealtime.

Generally, children who are picky eaters, have food aversions, or have an eating disorder do not require an OEDCP. Children who are fully tube-fed (with no oral intake) will usually have a health management plan or nurse care plan in place rather than an OEDCP.

How do I get an OEDCP for my child?
New or existing clients can contact Lively Eaters to make a booking for an OEDCP assessment with one of our speech pathologists. Developing the care plan will generally involve discussion and information gathering with parents/ guardians, an in-person mealtime assessment with your child, and collaboration with external providers (e.g., school staff) as needed.

Completed by:
Nicola Gregson, Speech Pathologist