Working with disabilityGiorgia P.
We interview Cristina Gori, coordinator of the center “Il Giardino dei Tigli” located in Altavilla Vicentina, which is part of the “Papa Luciani” multi-purpose center managed by the Cooperativa Sociale di Solidarietà Promozione Lavoro.
• What does your center do? What is your mission?
This is a residential community for people with severe disabilities acquired in adulthood following all kinds of traumas and degenerative diseases.
Since our patients have suffered an unexpected shock that has disrupted their daily lives, what we set ourselves is their return to a life as autonomous as possible through the reconstruction of personality and social role.
• How many beds do you offer? How many employees do you have?
We have a total of 20 beds, of which 19 for long-stay and 1 for short-stay. There are about 30 employees, including 20 medical professionals, plus administrative staff.
• What are the characteristics that make you a centre of excellence in your field?
We are the only community in Veneto specifically designed for people with acquired brain injuries. After a first experimental period of 3 years, from 2015 we are in fact included among the services offered by ULSS 8 Berica (our local health unit), even exceeding the regional standard regarding personnel, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
What then stands out is our organizational model: there is a close collaboration between all professionals and a horizontal-type global vision.
• How long have you been welcoming trainees? In which areas? From which country have you welcomed trainees so far?
We have been welcoming Italian trainees since 2015 and in 2016 we started the collaboration with Eurocultura, hosting so far German trainees as nurses, occupational therapists, social-health workers.
• Which are the tasks assigned to them? What can a trainee learn from you?
In addition to all the tasks that concern their job, we try to offer the trainees a 360° view on our working method focused on teamwork. They can also deepen their knowledge on head injury and relate with people who have suffered it, realizing firsthand what it entails.
• How do you organize the placement and the “follow-up” of the trainee?
During the first interview, general information about the structure and the work schedule is given to the trainees. They can have day shifts or afternoon shifts. We mentoring the trainee throughout the entire traineeship, that means
supervision is constant. The trainees can also take part in regular team meetings involving all medical staff.
• How do the employees react to the trainees? And the patients?
The trainees have always been well welcomed by other colleagues and immediately integrated into the team. For us they are an enrichment, as they allow us, for example, to come into contact with a different way of working, but also represent a valuable source of new incentives for patients, who have always reacted very well to their presence.
• Tell us something funny that happened to you!
We always have a laugh with the trainees when they make linguistic gaffes! And then I find it surprising how some of our patients with serious difficulties to express themselves are able to tie up with trainees who barely speak Italian, to the point of finding them more than once together smoking a cigarette in the smoking areas during the break!