New Standards in Health and Rehabilitation Services at ANAPLASI
*Extract from the article “On Equality”, by Christos Georgopoulos (MD, PhD, CCST-NS,UK) published by the online edition of the newspaper “Eleftherotypia”, on 08/05/2010.
“When ANAPLASI opened its doors 15 years ago in Halandri, as the first rehabilitation centre in our country, the word “apokatastasi” was commonly thought of in a financial context (compensation); in a legal context (restitution of rights) and social context (return to society), while the medical concept of rehabilitation was limited to the treatment of substance abusers.
In 1992 our country began to adopt and comply with the directives of the then European Community, entailing a common legal framework (Law 2072/1992, Presidential Decree 392/1993) for the design and development of modern social care services and protection through organized, self-contained units of Rehabilitation. However the attitude of society towards disability was hostile; there was complete absence of planning, goals, services, structures and infrastructure.
From then until today …we have come a long way…
Within its first fifteen years ANAPLASI succeeded:
a. In establishing a Framework of Rehabilitation services, to record the procedures (type and targets of services, of the Rehabilitation Team and their operation), to prove and demonstrate what is effective.
b. Identify indicators and rely on them to draw statistically significant data resulting from the “Survey of patient satisfaction”.
We thus defined as:
i) Health – the state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being in harmonious balance – individually and collectively – with the environment.
ii) Quality of Health Care and Rehabilitation – all of the features that meet the needs and full expectations of completely and objectively informed patients – Citizens with vested legal, constitutional and human rights.
iii) Quality of Life – the subjective sense of completeness and security, and enjoyment that is created by participation in all activities of personal, cultural and social life.
iv) Rehabilitation Services – all diagnostic approaches and therapeutic interventions for the patient and his family, made with a high level of consistent and regular communication, coordination and methodology by the rehabilitation team (physician, other specialized doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists , Neuropsychology, Psychology – Clinical Psychologists, social workers and guidance counselors and Training), to ensure an excellent quality of life for the patient and his family, independent living for the patient and, finally, personal, family, social and reintegration of the patient.
The results provided by the unified, holistic approach of the rehabilitation team in the clinical assessment and functional evaluation of the patient, the identification of targets, the therapeutic intervention by the Rehabilitation Team, and regular reassessment within adjustment to the clinical program give a qualitatively better result than that obtained by the sum of individual and disparate therapeutic interventions (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, etc.).
a. Implementing a policy of offering quality services accessible to all socioeconomic strata – after a solitary nine year struggle the Presidential Decree special hospital service fee was effected allowing coverage of rehabilitation services by the Greek public insurance schemes.
b. Improving the functional performance and quality of life for more than 7,000 patients with transient or permanent motor disability and / or mental disorder, stirring the “stagnant water” of the Greek rehabilitation and constituting a barrier to the forced and directed migration of patients abroad for rehabilitation services.
c. To give a new dimension to the involvement of patients in sport and cultural activities as part of the overall participation in collective processes of everyday life, creativity and culture. At the Paralympic Games in Athens, we applied our experience and expertise to provide rehabilitation services to people for whom sport is something more than a hobby. We gave our athletes support in physical, psychological and social sectors, promoting and implementing the medical-social model that has been applied from our inception. Since then we have been supporting not only of the Greek Paralympic Medalists, currently being the Official Health Service Sponsor of the Association, but also of young talented athletes, who, despite their physical and social barriers to show that they are active, socially emancipated and liberated citizens, with legal, constitutional and human rights.
d. introducing, developing and promoting the medico-social model in Health and Rehabilitation, and an unprecedented in Greece innovation, the institution of day care: The patient after the treatment session returns to home or work, applying what is taught at the Centre and so maintaining his social contact.
Designing and implementing a unique Quality Management System, which was certified by the National certification body of quality management systems in Germany, set high standards and uses strict selection criteria of human resources, evaluating them regularly, with continual professional development, encouraging initiatives and providing the incentives to increase productivity.
So the medical, therapeutic and administrative staff participates actively and consciously in social and academic interventions and embraces the vision of Anaplasi.
Anaplasi revealed a unique social dimension of rehabilitation (in addition to the clinical dimension) with the vocational and professional rehabilitation of patients to ensure their participation in collective processes everyday life, creativity and culture.
In 2008, Anaplasi executed the next step: a unique, world-class, integrated, national Rehabilitation Centre was started, in the heart of the city, at the nucleus of the social fabric, accessible by two motorways (the National road and the Attiki road) and public transport.
For the first time an international level of Health and Rehabilitation services, in all types of rehabilitation were provided by the same institution. Patients suffering from diseases of the nervous, circulatory, musculo-skeletal or respiratory systems and needing rehabilitation therapy could be given the choice between in-patient or out-patient care.
Furthermore, people with chronic disabilities can enjoy high-quality day care, depending on their needs during their stay in the special facilities of the Centre.
In addition, services are provided both as in-patients in collaboration with other hospitals and at home, if desired by the patient.
These services are covered by all (public and private) insurers.
In these new facilities, purpose built for rehabilitation, there was no compromise in quality, the goal being to help the patient to overcome the physical barriers of permanent or temporary disability and the social barriers created by disability.
Concurrently Anaplasi developed a unique, patient-centered model of functioning, which is promoted internationally through articles and papers by the Rehabilitation Team:
Widening the rehabilitation team from Inter-disciplinary to supra-sectional , taking it to the highest level, that is including, not only scientists in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Psychosocial Services, but all those working in rehabilitation, regardless of sector, department, location and specialty.
Thus, the patient is experiences unique behaviour and becomes the member of a team, an organization, a society of active citizens with an ever-growing free-flowing two-way communication, self-motivation, collectivity, camaraderie and solidarity.
When the patient is at the center, he is not looked down on with pity, as a person with dependent on others, under labels such as “disabled person” or “person with special abilities”, but with humanity and trust, as an equal citizen.
Within this dynamic structure, the patient is not left “parked” to remain dormant and forgotten by his family and his social circle, with maintenance only of vital functions. The action of Multi-Disciplinary Rehabilitation Team carries the slogan “We do for the patient, whatever is possible and not only what is deemed necessary” to ensure a good quality of life and maximum independence.
Discharge from Anaplasi confirms not only the completion of therapy, but also to certifies the patient’s ability to claim the right to participate in work, family and social life and freely enjoying the benefits of independence, to help himself and in turn in the rehabilitation of our society.”*
*Extract translated from article published in the online edition of the newspaper Eleftherotypia (“On Equality” 08/05/2010) Christos Georgopoulos