Torres Vedras to Caldas da Rainha – 45km
After breakfast in the Campus cafeteria, we were given a tour of the facility by 3 of the staff members – a physiotherapist, speech language pathologist and the head nurse. Opened just three years, the CNS is a unique facility. CNS offers a Movement Disorders Unit and an inpatient Neurorehabilitation Unit for people with PD and other movement disorders, e.g. Huntington’s Chorea. A brochure indicates, “Based on the current level of evidence and clinical expertise in neurology and movement disorders, the CNS rehabilitation program places its focus on building up disease-specific work from core rehabilitation areas, such as: physical capacity, transfers, body posture, reaching and grasping, balance, gait, cognition, speech and swallowing.”
Although clearly not accessible to everyone, being privately run, it provides the kind of multidisciplinary programs that should be available to all persons with PD. There is a capacity for 80 people and a number have decided to stay permanently. There are currently around 60 residents. Payment is private but some services may be covered by insurance. We were told that a residential stay of a month, with all rehab programs and other services, including meals, would run around €4,000-€5,000. The staff we met were young, enthusiastic and very well informed. It is important to them that they are able to provide specialized services primarily for PD patients and persons with other movement disorders. There are 7 physiology and 5 speech language pathologists, as well as occupational therapists, psychologists and other professionals. They offer programs for day patients as well as for those there for a few days or weeks. Research is a fundamental part of the work relating not only to therapeutic initiatives but very importantly on rehabilitation techniques. It helps that there is a well equipped gym, pool and extensive grounds for exercise. The staff emphasized that the facility is designed to be attractive and comfortable and non-institutional. It has the air more if a resort or spa, rather than a health facility.
After a group photo with the staff and Dr. Ferreira, we headed off to Caldas da Rainhas, via the medieval town of Obidos, where we had been told there was a chocolate festival. Unfortunately, the festival was only on at the weekends, but we did sample a Portuguese tradition – Ginja (sour cherry liqueur), served in a tiny chocolate cup.
The wind was against for a second day and tomorrow, as we head east, it is turning into a headwind again!
Wildlife Note: A buzzard and several white storks wheeling high in the air presumably returning from Africa.