A BBC report* dated November 14, 2014 describes the reality of disabled children in a Greek institution located in Lechaina. Low staffing levels and staff who have not been equipped or trained properly made it impossible to care properly for these 60+ residents. It was then decided that cages would be custom built for the residents who are “quarrelsome” or “have self-destructive tendencies”.
With 1 nurse and 1 assistant per floor of 20 residents, only minimal care is an option; each shift these 2 staff members are responsible for diaper changes, hose downs, medications and feeding meals (some through the bars) for all 20. This leaves little time for anything else.
Gina Tsoukala, director of the centre: “More than two thirds of these children have been abandoned by their families and we do not have the time to give them the emotional support we would like, nor to give them the individual care they deserve.” She goes on in saying that some of the mothers of the residents do not know of their child’s’ existence. She believes in some cases mothers are deceived in the hospital into believing their newborn child died during childbirth.
Greece has about a dozen institutions for children and adults. BBC was unable to gain access into any others and it is unclear what conditions are like inside them. Although there is discussion at government levels about these conditions, the economic crisis and the heavy stigma of the disabled in Greece leaves positive change an uncertainty.