"Being able to eat and swallow are daily functions that we often take for granted, without realising that there are people struggling with them on a daily basis.

I have an elderly patient with dementia who inexplicably refused food.  Her situation had been going on for two years before her son and helper decided to give up on her.  She had been drinking liquid supplements ever since.

After some observations, I decided to let her try a bowl of fruit puree and much to our amazement; she finished the entire bowl!  Finding a way to help my patient eat again was a fantastic experience, and it taught me that we should never give up hope.

People may tend to think that we persuade our patients for tube feeding most of the time.  I wish to clarify that we are just as keen as anyone else to keep our patients off the tube.  We really wouldn't suggest it if we could avoid it, and only after exhausting all other means for patients to swallow food safely."


Kristen Kiong Wan Li
Speech Therapist
Singapore General Hospital


Tags: Speech Therapist, Allied Health