FERB (Fondazione Europea di Ricerca Biomedica) is a no-profit foundation whose mission is medical research and rehabilitation in neurodegenerative diseases (mainly Parkinson and Alzheimer). It runs several centres, among them the Alzheimer Centre in Gazzaniga. The Centre is a Department with 46 beds located in a general hospital and exclusively devoted to the short hospitalization of dementia patients with severe BPSD, not amenable to the usual drug therapy.
The ward is new and built with special regards to the needs of these patients. It is endowed with a large staff of doctors (three neurologists and three geriatricians), neuropsychologists (2), nurses (13), occupational therapists, physical therapists. The entire staff is trained to the person-centred approach according to the ideas of Tom Kitwood: FERB has a collaboration with the University of Bradford, UK (prof. Murna Downs) and some of the staff has undergone the 1st and the 2nd level courses on Dementia Care Mapping in Bradford. Moreover, many non-pharmacologic therapies are resorted to during the stay of the patients (mean duration = 41 days): doll therapy, sensory room, therapeutic train and recently transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). In parallel the Centre runs a big memory clinic (UVA), with more than 2500 visits/year and a program of home intervention (project Caregiver) in selected cases.
The Centre doesn’t run directly any other structure care organization, but is well coordinated with the social services and the nursing homes of the territory, some of them encompassing a SCU for chronic patients with dementia. A recent review of our cases (not yet published) seems to demonstrate the efficacy of our model: we have been able to obtain a remarkable improvement of the behaviour (NPI), without worsening of cognition and functional state, and up to 74% of the patients have been discharged to home.
Coordinator of the project
Neurologist, former Director of the Department of Neurosciences, Niguarda Hospital, Milan. Former Vice-President, Società Italiana di Neurologia. Founder of the Study Group “Bioethics and Neurology”, Società Italiana di Neurologia. Professor of Bioethics, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan. Scientific Director of the Centro di eccellenza Alzheimer FERB. Has approximately fifty indexed papers in PubMed and more than fifty papers in Italian. Moreover, three books on bioethical topics (in Italian).
Geriatrician, Medical Director of the Centro di eccellenza FERB, member of the Regional Committee of Società Italiana di Geriatria and member of the Associazione Italiana di Psicogeriatria. Has attended the 2nd level course on Dementia Care Mapping, University of Bradford (UK). Has four papers indexed in PubMed..
Graduated in Clinical Psychology at Bergamo University, she was awarded a second level master’s degree in Neuropsychology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. Psychoterapy trainee at Cognitive Therapy Center in Como. She has expertise in assessing for cognitive functions, in cognitive rehabilitation and Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) treatment of patients with cognitive impairment and dementia.
MD, Neurologist. Member of SINdem Society (Italian Society of Neurology – Dementia). Her main clinical and research interests include cognitive functions in neurodegenerative disorders, diagnosis and treatment of Mild Cognitive Impairment and dementia. She has participated in quality of sub-investigator in some clinical pharmacological and non-pharmacological trials for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. Author/co-author of eight indexed papers.
Head nurse at the Centro Eccellenza Alzheimer FERB. Teacher for healthcare assistants courses. She attended the 1st level course on Dementia Care Mapping at the University of Bradford (UK). Expert in care and management of patients with cognitive decline and BPSD, and caregivers support.