The Hospice and the Foundation’s Increasing Commitment to Patients affected by ALS and Alzheimer’s Disease.

In the years between 1997-1998 when, in Italy, there was a lack of interest in topics related to palliative care, the Chairman of Fondazione Roma, who had visited a state-of-the-art oncology centre in the United States of America, decided to establish a Hospice in Rome, that is an inpatient facility which provides medical care and attends to the spiritual needs of terminal patients.

At the time, the number of centres for palliative care in Italy could be counted on one hand and none had been established in Rome.

Having performed feasibility studies and completed the operational plans, the Hospice was opened in 1999 and had ten beds. In time, the care services offered have been constantly updated and increased and today the Hospice also provides services for patients affected by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s disease.

The mission of the Hospice is to offer excellent person centred care and ensure that patients are treated with respect and dignity. Since opening, the Hospice has provided comprehensive services to over twelve thousand terminal patients who received physical, spiritual and psychological care.

In recent years the Hospice has been highly committed to patients with Alzheimer’s disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. An important project has been undertaken in collaboration with the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italian Institute of Technology) to create a robot assistant for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis patients, capable of influencing their physical and cognitive wellbeing, in ‘intelligent’ rooms.

Moreover, Fondazione Roma is planning to implement revolutionary services for patients with Alzheimer’s disease through a pioneer project in Italy, freely inspired by a Dutch experiment, which the Chairman likewise promoted having visited the centre in Holland.

This is a residential care facility for senior citizens affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of senile dementia, that replicates the typical environment and amenities found in a village, the inhabitants of which are the patients. The residents live in households that reflect their former lifestyle, they are free to walk around and are assisted by carers who also perform other duties in the village such as hairdressers, barbers, waiters, shop assistants or caretakers. The village, with areas for sports, socialization and the rehabilitation of residents, will be open to families and the local community in order to encourage integration between the facility and the existing social fabric.