Allied Health Professionals' Views on the Use of 3D Food Printing to Improve the Mealtime Quality of Life for People With Dysphagia: Impact, Cost, Practicality, and Potential.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Publication Type:
Journal Article
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 2022, 31, (4), pp. 1868-1877
Issue Date:
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PURPOSE: Much is promised in relation to the use of three-dimensional (3D) food printing to create visually appealing texture-modified foods for people with dysphagia, but little is known of its feasibility. This study aimed to explore the perspective of allied health professionals on the feasibility of using 3D food printing to improve quality of life for people with dysphagia. METHOD: Fifteen allied health professionals engaged in one of four 2-hr online focus groups to discuss 3D food printing for people with dysphagia. They discussed the need to address the visual appeal of texture-modified foods and watched a video of 3D food printing to inform their discussions on its feasibility. Focus group data were transcribed verbatim, de-identified, and analyzed using thematic content analysis. Participants verified summaries of the researchers' interpretation of the themes in the data. RESULTS: Participants suggested that 3D food printing could improve the mealtime experience for people with dysphagia but noted several barriers to its feasibility, including the time and effort involved in printing the food and in cleaning the printer. They were not convinced that 3D-printed food held higher visual appeal or looked enough like the "real food" it represented. CONCLUSIONS: Allied health professionals considered that 3D food printing could benefit people with dysphagia by reducing the negative impacts of poorly presented texture-modified foods. However, they also considered that feasibility barriers could impede uptake and use of 3D food printers. Further research should consider the views of people with dysphagia and address barriers reported in this study.
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