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Aspiration Risk Management

Some people with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (IDD) may be at risk for developing Aspiration Pneumonia.  The Clinical Services Bureau manages the statewide Aspiration Risk Management Program to help reduce the likelihood of aspiration events, which can lead to pneumonia or even death.  The Aspiration Risk Management program assists in the identification of risk factors, early recognition of aspiration symptoms and implementation of personalized interventions that can minimize the health risk of aspiration.

Standardized Screening

The New Mexico DDW program has long focused on Aspiration Risk Management. In 2010, we began using a standardized screening tool and Comprehensive Aspiration Risk Management Plan (CARMP).

Supports and Assessment for Feeding and Eating Clinics

Two separate clinics are sponsored by the Developmental Disabilities Supports Division (DDSD) to provide Supports and Assessment for Feeding and Eating (SAFE).


The Adult SAFE Clinics help with this effort by providing multidisciplinary evaluation services to individuals at risk ages 18 and over.  Please see our Aspiration Risk Management: SAFE Clinic Brochure for Adults for Adults to learn more.


Children, ages 0-18 may be seen at the Pediatric SAFE clinic held at the UNM Center for Development and Disability. Please visit the Pediatric SAFE Clinic website to learn more.

Decision Consultation Process

The SAFE teams to support individuals and guardians to make informed health care decisions Decision Consultation process supports individuals and their health care decision makers to be able knowledgeable about the risks and benefits of physician orders or recommendations from clinicians.

Like all of us, individuals and guardians may choose not to follow recommendations or orders. The Team’s role is to provide any needed information to support informed decision making.  The Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) uses this process, led by the Case Manager to identify and provide information about risks, benefits and alternatives for medical recommendations.  The team may provide or arrange for added information or consultation to assist the decision maker.  The Aspiration Risk Management: Decision Consultation Form is used to document the discussion and memorialized the individuals’ health care decision maker’s wishes.

Teams are reminded that there are many resources available to provide support. Please contact one of our Regional Offices if you need help or have any questions.

Essential Information

The Clinical Services Bureau staff and consulting team provide a variety of supports including professional training, consultation and monitoring of persons at Aspiration Risk.  See the listing below for links to current Aspiration Risk Management resources. 


Comprehensive Aspiration Risk Management Plan

Meeting Guidelines



Feeding Tube