Onlus – Organization for the Rehabilitation
of the Comatose
(Onlus – Non lucrative association for social
Onlus was born and developed in Rome in 1992, as a
result of a group of people being troubled by a family
member entering a coma due to serious head trauma.
Since its establishment,
the association has been run by Maria Elena
Villa, assisted by a group of field specialists
(reanimation experts, neurologists, physiatrists,
physiotherapists, psychologists and nurses mainly
engaged in the Reanimation Sections of the Policlinico
“A.Gemelli” and I.R.C.C.S. “Santa
Lucia” in Rome), and an indispensable group
A.R.Co.92 Onlus strives
to fill – at least partly – the void left
by the Italian National Sanitary Service in the area
of post-comatose assistance. Mortality due to neurological
injuries has, infact, notably diminished, due to always
more efficient reanimation techniques. Because of
this, the number of persons (mostly young) needing
a long and thorough rehabilitation has increased.
Nevertheless, specialized structures in Italy, are
not adequate to treat the therapeutical needs of such
patients. In too many cases it is consequently necessary
to turn to foreign structures, with excessive costs
for the majority of patients and their families. With
this in mind, the A.R.Co.92 Onlus’ activities
are mainly focused on the following objectives:
public opinion to coma and post-coma issues;
||provide volunteer support
to public and private Reanimation and Rehabilitation
||assist the patient’s family during and
after hospital admission;
||lend at-home assistance for discharged patients
needing physical and neuro-psychological therapy:
||find funding to obtain machinery, support and
medicines necessary for bettering the patient’s
quality of living.
Together with its social
activity, A.R.Co.92 Onlus labours to promote the development
of scientific knowledge intended for prevention and
treatment of the coma, through:
- the institution of scholarships
intended to update physicians and nurses;
- supporting research on the subject of cranial trauma
- the organization of meetings, congresses and study
In December of 1999, A.R.Co.92
Onlus, and Fondazione Santa Lucia, together with the
Italian “Assessorato alle Politiche per la Qualità
della Vita della Regione Lazio” (Lazio Region
Committee for Policy and Quality of Life) and the
San Michele Institute, inaugurated “Casa Dago”
in Rome. Such a structure is able to welcome the post-comatose
patient with a family member, during the delicate
moment of dismissal from a rehabilitation hospital,
and is fully equipped to assist the patient in favour
of family, social and work reintegration. A multi
specialized personnel from I.R.C.C.S. “Santa
Lucia” operates in this family-home. The goal
is to promote the potential and enduring capacities
of a post-comatose patient, in order to remain active,
even with neuro-motorial or neuro-phsycological deficits.
In September of 2004 the
Structure was closed down. In December of 2005 the
former Region President Storace inaugurated the newborn
Casa Dago in Via della Fotografia 90, together with
former Health Committee Head Marco Verzaschi and Anna
Teresa Formisano, Head of Social Services Committee.
The following personalities were also present: Cardinal
Fiorenzo Angelini, Domenico Gramazio (Head of National
Public Health) Ileana Argentini (representing Rome’s
Association for the Disabled), and Luigi Amadio, President
of the Fondazione Santa Lucia.
In order to widen areas
of intervention, the Association has recently started
to organize the opening of a similar structure in
Messina, Sicily, and is striving to institute such
organizations throughout all of Italy.
A 30.00 euro fee is fixed
for whoever may want to join the Association, while
supporting members may choose any sum they wish to
offer. Deposits may be made using postal checking
account n. 75809004.
Activities and Programs
- Learning Activities and Therapeutical Programs
- January 2005
“Through Art Therapy, the patient can become
independent by process of auto creation, and by painting
the self it is possible to recreate the self, for
what is painted is operating fantasy, and it is, by
this, operating inside” Jung
- February 2005
Computer classes in preparation for the European Computer
Driving Licence certificate recognized throughout
all of Europe
- October 2004
“Guide to at-risk Behaviour” - Car Accident
Information and Prevention Project for Schools
- November 2002
“Back to Driving” project, in collaboration
with the Italian Superior Health Institute and I.R.C.C.S.
Santa Lucia: study on accident risks related to post-comatose
patients who return to driving automobiles.
“A Dog for a Smile” project, together
with A.N.U.C.C.S. and with the contribution of the
City of Rome: experiment in Casa Dago on pet therapy
and its effect on post-comatose patients.
- March 2002
OFFT (horti-fruit-floral culture) Laboratory, with
the support of “Agriverde”, Rome and “Agro.Sem
2000”, Tarquinia, Viterbo. These classes aim
for the healing, formation and reintroduction of post-comatose
patients into the working world.
- January 2000
Basic Computer classes – group classes at Casa
Dago, dedicated to live-in patients and externals.
Objective: for post-comatose patients to increase
communication capacities and possibilities of returning
to study and work environments.
Associazione per la Riabilitazione
- January 1999
GROSINT Project, together with the Policlinico Gemelli
of Rome and with the support of Ina-Assitalia: realization
of network connections throughout all major centres
of Intensive Therapy in Rome, for the immediate and
continuous exchange of information and data regarding
head trauma injury epidemiology.
THE DAGO PROJECT
The Italian National Sanitary
Service does not provide centres dedicated to the
cure of post-comatose patients in transition between
hospital rehabilitation therapy and the return home.
To fill this void “Pogetto Dago (Project Dago)”
was initiated, thanks to the collaboration between
A.R.Co.92 Onlus and Fondazione Santa Lucia. Because
of this project and with the support of the Lazio
Region, “Casa Dago” was reopened.
Casa Dago is the first structure
in Italy dedicated to the familiar, social, scholastic
and work rehabilitation of the post-comatose patient.
It is intended for patients
with neuro–motor neuropsychological injuries
consequent to coma. These patients follow rehabilitation
programs at day hospital in specialized institutions.
Each patient lives in the home, together with a family
member and both are instructed in order to reach and
maintain project objectives for family and social
teachers, social workers and specialized volunteers
guarantee a safe environment where patients and family
members can jointly experiment ways in which to recuperate
the highest possible independence during day to day
External post-comatose patients
and families, who are out of rehabilitation projects,
are also welcome.
Within, innovative rehabilitation
activities take place, such as computer classes (with
ECDL – European Driving Licence certificate),
decoupage, horti-fruit-floral culture (OFFT), sport
therapy and pet therapy (animal assisted activities).
To verify the recovery of driving capacities, practical
assessment is provided, together with FIAT and the
Italian Superior Institute for Health, taking place
on an external circuit.
Casa Dago is equipped with
8 mini apartments, each one with 2 beds and disabled
proof bathrooms. Common areas (dining room, sitting
room, TV room, classrooms, garden) favour socialization.
All spaces are free of architectonic barriers. The
structure is functionally connected to the nearby
I.R.C.C.S. Santa Lucia, highly qualified in neuro
motorial rehabilitation. An equipped bus is available
for patients with external rehabilitation therapy
and recreational activities.
PROGETTO DAGO (DAGO PROJECT)
Aims and Objectives
- reduce bed confinement in traditional rehabilitation
- avoid drifting between several rehabilitation centres;
- reduce travelling for family members between home
and the rehabilitation centre;
- contrast the tendency for auto isolation of patients
and their families;
- increase residual capacities of post-comatose patients;
- contain sanitary and social expenses
A DOG FOR A SMILE
Animal assisted activities supply useful stimuli for
patients with disabilities that weigh on emotional
expressive and verbal capacities. The most suitable
animals for such activities are dogs, with their ability
to interact with such patients and their capacity
to exchange a great number of emotional and communicative
signals with human beings.
At Casa Dago, in 2002, a
pilot project was initiated, identified as “Un
cane pr tornare a sorridere (a dog to return to smiling)”,
intended for post-comatose subjects between the ages
of 15 and 40. The project was organized with the support
of ANUCCS (Associazione Nazionale Utilizzo del Cane
per Scopi Sociali – National Association for
Social Service Dog Use).
OFFT (horti-fruit-floral culture) Therapy is a rapidly
growing and useful instrument in the rehabilitation
of disabled subjects. Such a therapy, applied through
A.R.Co. 92 Onlus projects, is able to further attention
and responsibility capacities even in post-comatose
patients. Notions learned during such an experience
also lend a valid contribution to reinsertion into
the working world.
Classes are held with the support of AGRIVERDE, a
Association is fixed at
50,00 euro, donations are unrestricted. Click
here for information on how to make a donation.
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