Milan to Gravedona return- 232 km (train and bus) & 13,436 Fit Bit steps
Visit to Ospedale Classificato Moriggia Pelascini, in Gravedona
We travelled by train and bus to the foothills of the Alps north of Milan to visit the Ospedale Classificato Moriggia Pelascini, in Gravedona on Lake Como. Through an introduction kindly made by Dr. Joaquim Ferreira (Portugal), we had arranged to meet Prof. Giuseppe Frazzitta, head of the Parkinson’s Neurorehabilitation department. A delightful man, Dr. Frazzitta spoke to us at length about the program, introduced us to his colleagues and arranged for us to tour the unit with one of his senior staff. We very much appreciated the opportunity to visit this unique, state of the art facility with its warm and friendly atmosphere.
The 56-bed department was set up by Dr. Frazzitta five years ago primarily to provide hospital-based treatment for persons with PD who do not respond to pharmacological treatment. The aim of the 4-week program is to use the best possible equipment and highly specialised non-drug treatments in order to improve patients’ functionality and independence. Caregivers may also stay at the hospital and participate in the program. People are followed up 12 months after discharge. The treatment is completely covered by the Italian heath care system. For persons from outside Italy, the cost of the program is approximately €10,000 There is a year’s waiting list to get into the program.
On arrival, individuals are assessed and an individualized program is drawn up, which includes the participation of neurologists, physiatrists (physician specialist in rehabilitation) physical therapists, speech therapists, neuropsychologists, and nurses. In particular, the daily schedule includes one hour of face-to-face treatment with expert physiotherapists in order to improve body function and motor performance; an hour of treatment with the most modern and specific rehabilitation equipment; finally, a third treatment with exercises to improve hand function and independence in daily activities. In addition, patients with speech and swallowing disorders follow a group speech therapy-rehabilitation program. An individualized rehabilitation program is used for patients with Parkinsonism (multiple-system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy).
A study authored by Dr. Frazzitta and others compared a group of patients in the intermediate stage of the disease who had undergone intensive rehabilitation treatment and a group with no rehabilitation treatment; it showed that there was significant difference between the groups in the clinical evaluation and all the advantages were in the rehabilitation group. Even more interesting, the rehabilitation group were able to reduce their drug dosages, while the control group required further increases in drug dosages without any increased benefit.