Editorial: When I started Dysphagia Café almost 7 years ago, I told a co-worker about it and she said, “What’s on the menu?” I quickly told her that it was a blog not an actual café. So, you can imagine that when I stumbled across a Facebook post for D-Caf, I did a double take. No, it was not another blog about dysphagia, but it was, indeed, an actual cafe offering a unique dining experience for individuals with dysphagia.
D-CAF (Dysphagia Cafe) is South East Asia’s first therapy concept for individuals with Dysphagia. D-CAF by Amazing Speech Therapy (AST) is situated in their brand-new clinic in Singapore. According to Beatrice Teo, founder of AST, “D-CAF represents a step towards redefining the boundaries of traditional Speech Therapy as we advocate for and improve the quality of lives of individuals with dysphagia.”
D-CAF: Bridging the Gaps
Individuals with dysphagia face several limitations when it comes to simple pleasures like enjoying meals outside the home. D-CAF aims to bridge these gaps to provide a whole new experience.
Lack of resources in the community: Individuals with dysphagia often require a modified diet and fluid consistency but dining places do not provide such options, so they are often limited to eating at home.
Social stigma: Eating is a social activity. Individuals with dysphagia can no longer enjoy a typical meal as chewing and/or swallowing is difficult. They may need to be fed, have a prolonged feeding time, anterior spillage or occasionally cough when eating. In addition, they may have a nasogastric tube and avoid eating out due to stares they may receive in public.
Limited dysphagia therapy services in Singapore: Speech therapy support for dysphagia in the community is limited. In Singapore, dysphagia therapy is mostly provided in hospital inpatient and
outpatient settings and focuses more on clinical management than maximizing the pleasure of the dysphagia therapy experience.
Key features of D-CAF
Individuals can enjoy a delightful menu of specially modified diets. Menu items have been curated through years of R&D and manufactured locally in a factory with expertise from a food technician and dietician.
Every dish is thoughtfully presented and prepared to enhance the food’s appearance and taste, regardless of the consistency (puree, minced, soft or regular).
Swallowing therapists provide swallowing rehabilitation and consultation sessions during the meal to ensure clients are eating safely.
Individual and group therapy sessions available.
A safe space for clients to enjoy a delicious meal at their own pace, without facing social stigma.
Regular diet options can be provided for families who want to dine with their loved ones.
Wonderful platform to build a support network, to meet and mingle with others who have dysphagia.