New Humanity Movement

Health: Person, Environment





Paolo Balduzzi interviews Prof. Francesco Bevere, Head of the National Cancer Institute ‘Regina Elena’ and of the Dermatological Institute San Gallicano in Rome, about the program that aims at an enhanced humanization of hospitalization.



Paolo Balduzzi- Rome


Prof Bevere, could you please tell us something about this project that promotes an enhanced humanization of the hospital set-up in the two hospitals that you run?
Whenever persons are admitted into hospital they feel disoriented by the pain and the fear of the unknown that an illness causes. Often, the caring staff focuses on the therapy and somehow neglect the other aspects that make up a human person. This lack of harmony does not help the healing process. That is why, besides investing in technology and research, we decided to take care of the whole ‘person’: besides the best therapy, we strive to address the other needs that are sometimes left unspoken.

However, before being admitted into hospital, there is the diagnosis.
That’s right, and this is the most difficult moment. That moment changes the life of the sick persons, and from that moment they need all support they can get besides the obvious medical care. This is important, and even the healing process depends on it.

How do you achieve this in practice?
The most beautiful things, those that enrich our life, are the simplest things. This was our starting point: let us understand what sick persons would need most once they find themselves in a new place, away from their loved ones. Even though they know that the treatment they will be receiving is an excellent one, yet they are terrified of the uncertain outcome of it. Normally, the hospital timetable does not take into consideration the needs of the patients. We changed that, and now, for example, the daily rhythm of hospital life is more in line with what our patients were used to at home: breakfast at 7.30, lunch and 1 p.m., tea at 5 p.m. and dinner at 7.30 p.m..

Is it only a question of timetables?
Surely not. The most important thing is that the persons know that they have choices: even if they wear pajamas, they could still consider the hospital as a home rather that a prison. They can choose their food from a menu, and this makes the patients feel that they are being treated as persons who are able to decide for themselves.

Mostra_IfoA day in hospital is a very long one indeed. How is this aspect being addressed?              
One of the aims of the project (already put into action) is to keep the patients away from their room as much as possible. For example, we have set up cinema halls in our hospitals. On several evenings, volunteers come in to entertain our patients. Besides, we have several workshops, e.g. painting. There are also yoga sessions that allow the patients to acquire a better awareness of their bodies. I tell you, the patients enjoy all this a lot.

I heard that you intend to publish a calendar.
That’s true. We asked our patients to produce some paintings: we got a hundred of them. Of these we chose twelve that will be used in the calendar; the profits will go the finance the humanization program. In our budget no funds are allowed for such a program.

(To be continued)

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