UPDATED! – Eating and drinking independently after a stroke tastes the best!

May is Stroke Awareness Month and we wanted to share with you an article we have written specifically to help you to develop greater empathy to support ladies and gents who have survived a stroke to continue to eat and drink, as best they can independently and with dignity.

I would like you to imagine, for a moment, how you would feel if you were suddenly struck down with a stroke – seemingly coming from nowhere in the space of a moment, and with potentially life changing consequences – not just for you who is immediately affected, but also for your loved ones.

After all, shaky hands, limited movement in your neck and/or potential paralysis down one side of your body, would make it nearly impossible for you to eat and drink independently. And having to have someone assist you with your meals, or face spilling food on a table or yourself, can be embarrassing and have a negative effect on your self-esteem and even lead to you refusing to eat.

Dealing with the aftermath of a stroke can be physically and emotionally stressful. Depending on the severity of the stroke, you may lose some of your mental and physical abilities. Some of your abilities may return over time, while others may not. You need to relearn and practice every day movement sequences – which include eating and drinking, to help promote dignity, independence and the enjoyment of food once again.

You may have a loved one or care for ladies and gents who are stroke survivors, and by empathising with their conditions and symptoms, you can gain a better understanding of how best you can help them:

Here we talk about some of the ways a stroke can affect normal eating, and offer you our tips and solutions to help overcome them:

Swallowing difficultiesa stroke survivor may experience choking coughing, or gagging while eating, or find that liquid comes out of their nose when they try to swallow. It may get better over time, but a few tips can help:

  • Get a referral to a Speech and Language Therapist. They will be able to provide guidance on exercises to strengthen the tongue, lips, throat, and mouth muscles, which will help with swallowing. They may also recommend prescription medications like muscle relaxers, which can open the throat and make swallowing easier, and prescribe a pureed diet and thickened drinks for safer nutrition and hydration.
  • Stick to soft and pureed foods like cooked cereal, mashed potatoes, soup, cottage cheese, and apple sauce, as they are all easier to eat. Our innovative range of silicone food moulds are amazing to help improve the presentation of pureed foods.
  • If you want to try tougher foods, cut them into small pieces or chop them in a blender to make them easier to chew.
  • Thicken liquids. It’s important to drink enough fluid to avoid dehydration. But when you have swallowing difficulties, you are at high risk of aspiration, when water and other thin liquids can accidentally enter your airways or lungs and cause serious health problems such as pneumonia. We have range of drinks thickeners and drinking beakers with spouts suitable for thickened fluids.
Here’s a plate of food which has been created using pureed food and food moulds so that carrots look like carrots, peas look like peas and so on.


If using cutlery is a challengea stroke can weaken the muscles in arms or hands making it hard to use traditional forks, knives, and spoons. Try:

  • Cutlery with larger and thicker handles which are easier to hold
  • Switching to a knife with a curved blade that allows the cutting of food with one hand, or a ‘splayed fork’ which acts like a spoon and a fork in one for single handed eaters.
Helpful adaptive handles for those who have trouble holding cutlery
These clever handles can help those who can not hold traditional cutlery handles.


Eating with one hand – a stroke can lead to paralysis (temporary or permanent) down one side of the body, making eating independently more challenging, try the following ideas:

Our brilliant Sloped Base Plate and Bowls unite three products in one: plate/bowl, plate guard and non-slip table set.

  • They have an interior base which is not flat and a discreet protruding lip, both of which help food to slide toward the fork or spoon making it easier for people with limited hand mobility to access food with a fork or spoon.
  • Additionally a nonslip base, guarantees a firm stand to help enable single-handed eating.
  • Adaptive kitchen equipment – special tools can be used to help cook one-handed, such as easy-grip scissors, battery-powered peelers, and specially designed cutting boards.

Eating slowly – when recovering from a stroke and relearning every day skills including eating and drinking independently it can take longer to eat meals, which can cause them to get cold and therefore be unappetising for the person who then gives up on eating and becomes at greater risk of malnutrition.

Our Keep Warm Plate and Keep Warm Bowl enable the slowest eaters to enjoy their meals, hot, to the very last bite

  • Non-slip grip pads on the side pf the plate and bowl not only ensure a safe hold, but also conceal the openings for the thermal function which are both safe and easy to fill with hot or cold water or crushed ice ( to also use for desserts and ice cream to keep them cool)
  • A non-slip ring under the base ensures a firm stance whilst eating.

Our colourful and functional range of Ornamin tableware, with its supportive features, compensate for just these types of disability, and can help to facilitate independent and carefree eating and drinking. They hold products securely in place on the table, prevent them from slipping out of hands and, like an invisible second hand, allow people with just one hand to eat on their own with ease.

For more details head over to our website request your copy of the Dignified Dining Solutions Guide or give us a call on 01773 713713.


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Customer Testimonials

“We’ve built a strong working relationship with Hcsuk over many years, having used them to source, install and service our medical training equipment. We have always found the team very professional, helpful, and well-organised. We’d like to give a particular shout out to Phil, the technician / engineer who has been the consistent friendly face visiting our business to inspect and test our mobility hoists every 6 months. Thank you for all your support and advice.”

P. B. (Care Manager), Blue Bird Care Ltd

You are part of a great company, if we can help you grow by contracting you out to our sites its good for you, but it’s great for us because your service is fantastic, very efficient, everyone within Hcsuk is super helpful in answering queries and every time we’ve had an issue, Hcsuk has always been there to solve the problem almost immediately, which is fantastic.

Leicestershire County Council

Truly exceptional levels of customer service, the best I have experienced for many years. Very helpful staff made follow up calls to ask how the equipment was performing and supplied extra user instructions to supplement the manufacturers manual. I would not hesitate to order from this company again.

Savills Estate Agents

We would just like to pass on our thanks for all of your help with our orders and would be pleased if you would also pass on our thanks to the manufacturers for being so accommodating in meeting our requirements. We have found everyone very helpful.

Lincs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Since I set up the account for Hcsuk over 18 months ago I have found them to be an excellent advocate of our products. They have been willing to learn about the technical and servicing elements to our hoists and the sales staff have really taken on board and proactively promoted our range where possible. I feel that as a company Hcsuk have got the desire and right people in place for growing in this competitive industry. They seem to push themselves to go that little bit further and offer that little bit more to stand out from the rest. May our relationship continue going from strength to strength.

Joerns Healthcare

As a care home manager I have used Hcsuk for my supplies for the last 20 years in two homes. I have always found them to be helpful and reliable. Their products are of the highest standards, they are able to source anything. The delivery service is prompt and regular so I do not have to keep large amounts of stock. They supply extra services such as servicing and repairs which are done efficiently, and training in COSHH. The reps are pleasant and helpful bringing new products to my attention but are never ”pushy”. Aftercare is good, any problems soon sorted. I would recommend them highly and would not think of using anyone else.

Littleover Nursing Home

HPC have supplied Hcsuk (Health Care Services Ltd) for well over a decade now and we would consider them to be a high quality and professional business run in an organised and progressive manor. We do not rank our customers or have a preferred customer status but if we were to introduce such a scheme I can confirm that Hcsuk would easily make such a grade.

HPC Healthline

As a manufacturer we look for key values in a distributor some of these include honesty, reliability, commitment and reputation. Hcsuk carry all of these and many more. With a twenty plus year working relationship we now place Jo and the team at the top of our distributor list. I have no hesitation in recommending Hcsuk to any prospective manufacturer or customer and wish Jo and the team all the best for the future.

Cleenol Group Ltd

It is brilliant that we are able to ring Health Care Services and that you will go the extra mile to get us the stock we need as soon as possible.

Rykneld View Nursing Home

Just to say a huge thankyou to you and your fantastic team, and I mean that from the Heart. I have never before experienced such a person centred company.

Hampton Grange Nursing Home

What I like about working with Health Care Services is the relationship we have built up and the personal service. The homes report that you always deliver on time, the quality is consistently good and the prices competitive. Your team members are always willing to go that extra mile for us and if ever we have an issue there is always someone there to save the day.

Eastgate Care

Thanks to Jo for going over and above to get us our items in time for our special event at Buddleia House – it was very much appreciated. A massive thankyou for your continued assistance as a supplier to ourselves.

Buddleia House

We have always received excellent services from everyone at HCS at our 2 care homes, especially Lee, Jo and Phil. Always professional with a quick response time. Nothing ever seems too much trouble. Recently I had to use them personally for equipment to enable my mothers discharge from hospital. I had a response within the hour for prices and delivery came straight from the manufacturer to speed up delivery. Phil arrived at the same time to put the equipment together for us! I can’t thank them enough for putting our minds at ease and for the continued support from a personal and professional perspective. I’d recommend them to anyone requiring care equipment and its nice to support local businesses. Especially when they do such a good job!!

Orla House

I contacted HCSUK trying to find a hoist that could be operated unaided by the client. I had become very disheartened, no-one was really helpful until I spoke to Donna at HCSUK.

Donna was incredibly understanding, her professionalism raised my spirits again. Everything Donna said she would do she did, including arranging for me to speak to Andrew the salesman who like Donna was incredibly helpful, happy to bring two machines to demonstrate.

I can’t recommend them highly enough. They are good people.

Penelope C

I spoke to Lee Atterbury 2 weeks ago, when I was despairing about the prospect of finding any equipment to help my husband in the bathroom. I had tried all the popular brands, but none were right for his needs.

When I spoke to Lee he understood what I was saying and set about trying to find what we need. He was so patient and understanding and gave me the confidence to explore outside the box.

I spoke to Lee today and was able to tell him that we, hopefully, have found the solution. I am sorry that it was not a product you sell, though you may in the future, but will certainly look first to HCS for other products.

Thank you so much to Lee for first class customer service.

Christine G, Sheffield

VAT Relief Information

Conditions for VAT relief for disabled people

Some of the products which can be purchased from the Hcsuk website are available for an eligible person to purchase without paying VAT on them. HM Revenue and Customs sets out the conditions when equipment for disabled people might be free of VAT and how to claim exemption from paying VAT on these products.

Products a can only be exempt from VAT when all the following conditions are met:

  1. The customer is eligible to purchase supplies at the zero rate
  2. The goods are for the personal or domestic use of the customer
  3. The goods and services are eligible to be supplied at the zero rate

A more detailed explanation of each of these conditions is given below, but you should visit the HM Revenue and Customs Website to fully understand the conditions

The product must be being purchased for someone who is chronically ill or disabled.

A person is ‘chronically sick or disabled’ if he/she is a person:

It does not include a frail elderly person who is otherwise able-bodied or any person who is only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, such as with a broken limb.

‘personal or domestic’ use means that the supply must be made available specifically for the use of an eligible individual.

You don’t have to physically buy the goods in person. If your parent, guardian or wife or husband buys the goods and services for you, then you won’t be charged VAT.

What counts as personal or domestic use?

Personal or domestic use means that the goods or services are supplied for your own private use, rather than for business purposes. Also, the goods or services must be just for your own use – not for use by anyone else, or chronically sick or disabled people in general. However, if you and your partner are both chronically sick or disabled and you buy goods or services for both of you to use, then you won’t have to pay VAT.

Products which are offered for sale on this website which qualify for VAT relief to be claimed for an eligible person.

The products which can be bought without paying VAT are:

Only the products on our site carrying the VAT exemption price (the smaller price marked ex VAT) are eligible to be purchased this way and you must tick the box on the basket page indicating that you wish to claim VAT exemption on the items in your basket that are eligible for VAT relief.

How to claim

On the my basket page of this website a link to the online declaration form is provided if the basket contains a product that qualifies for VAT relief. You must tick the box to state you wish to claim VAT relief on the eligible product and complete in full the reason by which you are ‘chronically sick or disabled’ and name and address of the claimant. If possible the person making the claim should complete this form, but a family member, carer or medical professional may complete the form on the claimants behalf. To submit the claim and receive the VAT relief, click the ‘Submit VAT Relief Claim’ button before proceeding to the checkout.

Please note that all orders submitted with a VAT relief claim form completed are checked before the order is processed.

It is necessary to complete a separate claim form each time a qualifying product is purchased from Hcsuk.


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