The conception and planning of the program was triggered by the increase of the ageing population in our country and the broader marginalization of the elderly combined with the adverse socioeconomic situation. It focused on the special medical needs of 112 elderly people residing in 4 nursing homes for the elderly in Attica since there is little state support and less interest for this target group on behalf of the Civil Society compared to the interest shown for other vulnerable groups.
The need for health care support for the elderly in nursing homes was made clear after search conducted in a large number of nursing homes in Attica. The medical and pharmaceutical needs of this target group are hardly covered because of absence of social security, impoverishment, difficulty of the elderly in visiting health care centers due mainly to understaffing of the nursing homes and absence or incapacity of family environment, medical condition of the elderly and due to the low priority given to the specific group by the National Emergency Aid Centre.
In detail, the program offered the following:
General diagnostic tests to the elderly in order to gauge their health condition at the time the program began.
Clinical examination and report on the needs of the elderly by general practitioner and cardiologist in the nursing homes.
Specialized doctors such as orthopedic, neurologist, urologist, dermatologist, surgeon etc., paid visit to the nursing homes and examined the beneficiaries according to their special needs after the clinical examination.
Updated pharmaceutical treatment or therapeutic intervention and coverage of the cost of medical and pharmaceutical needs deemed necessary for the rehabilitation, the improvement or the maintenance of the health of the elderly after the above medical examination.
Vaccines such as pneumococcal and anti-influenza vaccines where needed.
Re-assessment of the health condition of the beneficiaries in the end of the program via diagnostic tests.
Coverage of the cost of medical equipment and consumables of the nursing homes.
During the implementation of the program it came to our attention that the elderly in the nursing homes have little or no communication and companionship with people other than their fellow residents due to absence of family environment or inability of their relatives to visit them. They suffer from or they are prone to depression and the joy of life has been lost.
In an effort to combat their loneliness, we brought the elderly in contact with children. Nine students of the second grade of a close-by high school kept company to the elderly persons residing in one of the 4 nursing homes by engaging them in handcrafts, playing board games, and chatting for a period of six months every second Saturday each month. This action was named “Keeping company to Grandpa and Grandma”.