Open Arms

About the Project

 

The project “Enhancing the position of Residents in Residential Care Institutions for Persons with Mental Disability and Mental Illness and creation of Conditions for their Social Inclusion in the Local Community (OPEN ARMS) is funded by the European Union. The project is implemented in cooperation of Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Policy and Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia.

Project activities started in September 2012.

Main goal of the project is  improvement of social inclusion of persons with disabilities and mental disorders.

The project consists of three components :

1. Transformation Plan for the estimate of 11 residential institutions and feasibility study for the psychiatric institutions and Development Plan for cross-sectoral community based social and health services prepared.

2.Capacities at national and local level to improve range and quality of coordinated community based care for people with intellectual disabilities and mental disabilities built, in line with Development Plans.

3. Support to the Grant Scheme for provision of community based social and mental health services

The project focuses on 11 social protection residential care institutions for persons with mental disability and mental illnesses (Kragujevac, Veliki Popovac, Kulina, Tutin, Stara Moravica, Pancevo,  Blace, Curug, Stari Lec, Becej, Aleksinac) and five special psychiatric hospitals (in Gornja Toponica, Novi Knezevac, Vrsac, Kovin and “Dr. Laza Lazarevic” in Belgrade).

The project “Enhancing the position of Residents in Residential Care Institutions for Persons with Mental Disability and Mental Illness and creation of Conditions for their Social Inclusion in the Local Community” was awarded to the consortium of Hifab, Bolt International ConsultingPro Mente Austria, and SSPMH.

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News

New project`s activities

After two years of implementation of the OPEN ARMS project, new project activities will be realized from September 2014 until December 2015.
The Project will closley work with 11 residential institutions and focus on preparation of Transformation Plan for these residential institutions, the feasibility study for the psychiatric institutions and Development Plan for cross-sectoral community based social and health services prepared.
The Project will continue to built capacities at national and local level to improve range and quality of coordinated community based care for people with intellectual disabilities and mental disabilities in line with Development Plans. Also, project team will provide support to the Grant Scheme for provision of community based social and mental health services.
The project focuses on 11 social protection residential care institutions for persons with mental disability and mental illnesses (Kragujevac, Veliki Popovac, Kulina, Tutin, Stara Moravica, Pancevo,  Blace, Curug, Stari Lec, Becej, Aleksinac) and five special psychiatric hospitals (in Gornja Toponica, Novi Knezevac, Vrsac, Kovin and “Dr. Laza Lazarevic” in Belgrade).
Project team will continue work on the project in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Policy and Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia.

Second training on Normalisation

The second training on personal planning was held in Residential care institution for persons with mental disability “Sv. Vasilije Ostroški Čudotvorac” in Novi Becej, on August 4-6, 2014.
Training was led by Prof. Vito Flaker and Prof. Miroslav Brkić, project experts. The representatives from residential social care institutions, representatives from Centers for Social Work, Special Hospitals and the Provincial Institute for Social Welfare attended the training.
The participants were trained in active participation. They expressed their concerns and explored new possibilities through discussion with project experts and other participants.
The workshop was closed with discussion about implementation of personal planning.

Training on Normalisation

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The training on normalisation was held in Stara Moravica on July 1- 3, 2014 led by Prof. Dr. Vito Flaker, project expert.
The aim of the workshop was to get an insight on the current life situations of users of social care, understanding and examining personal values, choices, self-determination and possibilities for their achievement; to look at them in the role of the professional, free individuals and in the role of a person living with a mental health or intellectual disability who resides in an institution.
The first day of training started with introducing of normalisation and social role of valorisation and proceeded with an exercise ‘on lifestyles’.

 

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Training on personal planning

The three-day training on personal planning was held in Novi Becej on June 25- 27, 2014 as part of the project activities aiming to provide practical overview on process of deinstitutionalization.
The training was designed by Prof. Dr Vito Flaker and led by Prof. Miroslav Brkic, project experts. Basic concepts, key differences between traditional and person-centred care planning and different methods of personal planning were presented.
The participants worked in 4 groups. In each group there was one person playing the role of the professional, one was portraying the user and the rest were observers.
The experts from the institution prepared basic description in advance of four different users from the institution that was presented, only to the person who played the service user in each group; while the observers were given a list of questions which was intended to provide as much as possible information as possible about the user, their personality, aspirations, dreams and goals, needs, daily routine, wishes, strengths and observation, risks, social contacts and formal and informal support network.

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Focus group about financing of deinstitutionalization

GlavnaFocus group dedicated to financing of deinstitutionalization and community based services was held in Belgrade on June 23, 2014 as part of the project activities.

Meeting was led by George Boulton, project’s expert for financing. In open discussion the representatives of the residential institution (Institution for Adults Placement “Kulina”), local self-government (Aleksinac), NGO (Karitas Sabac) and Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran Care and Social Affairs stressed importance of cooperation between social and health sector for future deinstitutionalization.

During the discussion the participants analyze current situation of financing services in residential institutions. They underlined importance that real costs of services which will be provided during process of deinstitutionalization should be established.

Two Focus groups on collaboration between social and health care system in providing assistance for people with mental illness

GlavnaRepresentatives of social and health care institutions and organizations participated in the two Focus groups addressing the issues of organizational and legal aspects of collaboration between the social and the health care system in providing assistance and support to persons with mental illness and challenges faced by both systems. The meeting of Organizational Focus group was held in Belgrade on June 10th 2014.
In his opening speech, Prof Dr Miroslav Brkic, an expert on the project, spoke about organizational functioning of the social welfare system and the problems that the system faces. Brkic indicated that social services (community services) in the future should be inter-sectoral, and provided by both systems – social and health care.
Dr Zoran Vesić, an expert on the project, spoke about the collaboration of the health and social systems in the provision of services to persons with mental disabilities, and pointed out that it is necessary to Mental Health Centres’ competencies and their funding to be defined.
Afterwards, there was a discussion about the main difficulties and responsibilities of health and social services for the development of community services.
The second day, on June 11th, a Focus group on legislation issues in health and social care system was held. The meeting was led by Dr Marta Sjeničić. Dr Sjeničić presented basic obstacles to achieving deinstitutionalization of people with mental disabilities and intellectual disorders. During the meeting, the participants sought through an active discussion to propose adequate legal solutions that would, if it were adopted, could contribute to overcoming organizational barriers to deinstitutionalization.
Participants defined recommendations for improving organizational cooperation between social and health care systems.

Ceremonial award of the projects selected under the Open Call for proposals “Support to de-institutionalization and social inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems”

GlavnaThe European Union has granted more than EUR 2,3 million to social welfare and health care institutions, civil society organizations, and local governments in Serbia under the Open Call for Proposals on “Support to de-institutionalization and social inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems.”

Ceremonial award of grants for 19 projects aimed to support persons with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems was held in Belgrade, “Palace Serbia” on June 4, 2014 attended by Aleksandar Vulin, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran Care and Social Issues, Government of the Republic of Serbia, Dr. Zlatibor Loncar, Minister of Health and H.E. Ambassador Michael Davenport, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia.

“Today, we believe that a little bit better life started for around 999 people. Not only for them but for their families and the environment where they live. We can say that the world has become today a little bit more human and fairer place to live. I want to thank our friends in the EU that have enabled all of this, but you too. Without you – all the money in the world would not have a great sense,” said Aleksandar Vulin, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran Care and Social Issues, addressing the audience.

Minister of Health Dr. Zlatibor Lončar said the EU financial support would enable special psychiatric hospitals “Dr. Slavoljub Bakalovic” in Vrsac, and “Sveti Vracevi” in Novi Knezevac to take a part of their activities to a local level. Loncar said primary health care should be strengthened, above all, by training doctors to recognize the signs of mental disorders more easily.

“The fact is that the area of mental health is not among publicly debated topics very often. This particular area is of critical importance for individual, human, as well as the welfare of the whole society,” said Ambassador Michael Davenport, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia.

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Workshop on Development of Individual Plans for Residential Institutions

1More than 20 representatives of residential institutions involved in the project took part in a workshop on Development of individual plans, which was held in Belgrade on May 15, 2014.

Dr. Monika Gabanyi, Project Team Leader, opened the workshop and said that the workshop was organized with the aim to provide support to residential institutions in developing individual plans in the process of transformation.

Milutin Cvetkovic, IT Expert, presented a software solution that has been developed by the project and will be available to residential institutions in order to provide data collection, data entry and storage, as well as to search and edit personal information. One purpose of the software is to follow the Ris transformation and development plan in a unified manner. The software solution is easy to use and application performance can be independent from the Internet. Implementation of the program is planned for the end of May.

Mirko Jankelić, Director of the RI „Čurug“ from Čurug, presented the planning process of de-institutionalization through the example of their own institution. Mr. Jankelić defined deinstitutionalization as a process of reform or change from institutions to local or alternative services, which is being implemented under the assumption that persons on institutional care can be provided needed services and support for independent life outside the institution, ie . in the community.

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Working meeting on transformation plans for the special psychiatric hospitals

GlavnaThe plans for the transformation of the special psychiatric hospitals were discussed on the working meeting held in Belgrade on May 14, 2014 attended by the directors of the special psychiatric hospitals from Vrsac, Novi Knezevac, Kovin and Gornja Toponica.
The meeting was opened by Dr. Jan Pfeiffer, a psychiatrist, an expert on the project. In the introductory part of the meeting, the directors of special psychiatric hospitals presented the current situation in hospitals and problems they faced in their work.
In followed discussion they talked about possibility for deinstitutionalization and community based services (opening of community mental health centers, sheltered housing), new ways of financing services. The participants pointed out that for successful transformation of specialized psychiatric hospitals the role of psychiatric department of general hospitals is very important. This department has to increase their capability to care about all acute clients from their catchment area and to send them to specialized psychiatric hospitals. They also do have a role in developing community mental health centers in their territory.
It has been stressed that community mental health centre should not be on the level of primary health care centers but of great importance is  psychiatrists in primary health centers play a role of gate keepers to secondary mental health care. They pointed out that without this broad cooperation and coordination reducing number of patients in the special psychiatric hospitals will not be possible.

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Workshop – Initiation of Development Plans

workshopMore than 40 representatives of the residential institutions included in the project and representatives from institutions of social and healthcare attended at the two-day workshop “Initiation of development plans” held in Belgrade on 27 – 28 March, 2014.
Workshop aimed to support the residential institutions during planning of comprehensive development plans for deinstitutionalization (DI).
Dr Monika Gabanyi, project Team leader welcomed the participants and stressed that project will provide support to all RI during DI. In this regard, the project prepared the software solution that will facilitate planning for residential institutions and community-based services.

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Workshop on transformation process

GlavnaThe two-day workshop on organizational and technical capabilities of process of transformation of residential care institutions was held in Belgrade on 17 – 18 December 2013 attended by directors of the residential care institutions involved in the project (Veliki Popovac, Kragujevac, Kulina, Tutin, Pancevo, Stara Moravica, Curug, Novi Becej and Aleksinac).
On the first day of the workshop participants discussed about lessons learned from a study visit to the Czech Republic.  As the most essential lesson they underlined the impression about real possibility of transformation of institutions and de-institutionalization that would contribute to a better life for users and as more human approach to their problems.
Based on study visit, participants also came to a conclusion that plan of transformation process is needed and this process will not lead to losing jobs. It will lead to development of local services.

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Two-day Workshop about Project Status

20131119_102402Two-day Workshop aiming to analyse current project status and project reformulation was held in Belgrade on November 19 and 21. 2013.
The Workshop was opened by Dr Monika Gabanyi, Project Team Leader. She said that workshop was initiated after monitoring mission (Result-Oriented Monitoring – ROM) held in October. One of the mission’s recommendations was to revise project log frame. “We are here today to analyse project status and to discuss challenges which project will face in future”, Dr. Gabanyi stressed. She added that all stakeholders should actively participate in this process which will help project to achieve results and to enable deinstitutionalisation.
Workshop was led by Marjo Lapidaire, Hifab International AB, Regional Director. The participants worked in groups, analyzed and identified problems and challenges encountered in the project.

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Study tours to Czech Republic

1Two study tours to Czech Republic were organized as part of the project activities. First study tour to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of Czech Republic and Residential Care Institutions was held on September, 1st – 4th 2013. It was attended by Brankica Jankovic, State Secretary of Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy, Branko Puzic, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy, Dr. Tatjana Voskresenski, Director of Special Psychiatric Hospital from Vrsac, Dr. Nada Markovic, Ministry of Health, Dr. Monika Gabanyi, Project Team Leader, Prof. Dr. Miroslav Brkic, Project Expert and Dr. Jan Pfeiffer, Psychiatrist, Project Expert.
Meetings were held with representatives of the Czech Ministry, representatives of Sector for social work of Visocina Region. Delegation from Serbia visited social institutions where number of users was reduced during the transformation. The representatives of non-governmental sector shared their experience gained during this process. They delivered various services to people with mental and intellectual disabilities who live in local community.

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Needs assessment scale training

DSCN0522Scale for measuring functional efficiency was presented at the training held in Belgrade on October 14-15 2013 attended by representatives of the residential care institutions. The training was led by Mr. Miroslav Brkic, an expert on the project, the author of Scale.
Scale of funcional efficency (funcional efficeny is ability of person to independently fulfill basic needs among different aspects of a daily life), was developed in cooperation with service providers in the system of social protection. Based on this assessment’s instrument, needs assessment for users would be in place for residents in institutions and those who should be settled there.
Brkic said that unique Scale was not used in residential care institutions in Serbia until now but some of institutions have developed their own scales based on the assessment of users needs mainly in area of ​​everyday self-care. He added that the Scale was made for all user groups, because “scale refers to their operational efficiency.”

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Visits to residential care institutions

logo-newDuring September, the project team visited residential care institutions included in the project Open Arms.  On the meetings with representatives of the institutions, the project team analyzed draft transformation plans per each residential institutions and concrete ideas regarding community based services.

By the end of September, all 13 residential institutions included in the project prоvided draft transformation plans.

 

Training for participation in the Open Call

trainingFollowing the Information sessions where Open call for proposals “Support for de – institutionalisation and social inclusion of persons with mental disability and mental illness” was presented, as part of the project activities training for potential applicants was held in Belgrade on September, 19th 2013.

The training was organized in order to provide additional information to the potential applicants about the process of transformation of institutions; community based services as well as the process of de-institutionalization for people with mental and intellectual difficulties.

The meeting was opened by Mr. Vladimir Pesic, Assistant Minister for protection of persons with disabilities in the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy .

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Information sessions held through Serbia

Sesije za tekstThe Оpen Call for Proposals aiming to improve social inclusion of persons with disabilities and mental disorders was presented at the Information sessions held on August 5 – 9, 2013 in Novi Sad, Subotica, Kraljevo, Vranje and Nis.

More than 300 representatives of health and social institutions, local-self governments, non-governmental organizations attended the sessions and will be in position to apply for grants.

Ms. Jelena Mujcinovic and Mr. Branko Puzic from Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy were present on the sessions, while Ministry of Health was presented by Mr. Aleksandar Rankovic. Deputy Mayor of Kraljevo Mr. Milun Jovanovic welcomed participants on the session held in Kraljevo. Dr. Zoran Perisic, Mayor of Nis welcomed participants on session in Nis.

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First Information session in Belgrade

Medija Centar Beograd

Medija Centar Beograd

The Оpen Call for Proposals “Suport for de – institutionalization and social inclusion of persons with mental disability and mental illness” with total budget of EUR 2.55 million aiming to improve social inclusion of persons with disabilities and mental disorders was presented at the first Information session held on August 1, 2013 in Media Centre in Belgrade.

Introductory speeches were given by Prof. Dr. Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, Minister of Health of Republic of Serbia, Adriano Martins, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia and Brankica Jankovic, State Secretary of Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy…

Prof. Dr. Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, Minister of Health said that people with mental disabilities are often discriminated in society, even left by their family, and remain in psychiatric hospitals for months or years. It is intended in Serbia to raise the level of services of care of this people at the local level when they return to their communities from specialized institutions, Minister added…

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Presentation of the Open Call for Proposals

Support for de-institutionalization and social inclusion of persons with mental disability and mental illness

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Open Call for Proposals Support for de-institutionalization and social inclusion of persons with mental disability and mental illness” in scope of activities of the Open Arms project will be presented on Information session in Belgrade, Thursday, August 1st 2013, at 12:00, Media Centre, Terazije 3/I, Big room.

Open Call for Proposals “Support for de-institutionalization and social inclusion of persons with mental disability and mental illness” in scope of activities of the Open Arms project will be presented on Information session in Belgrade, Thursday, August 1st 2013, at 12:00, Media Centre, Terazije 3/I, Big room.

Key speakers:

Prof. Dr. Slavica Đukić Dejanović, Minister of Health of Republic of Serbia
Mr. Adriano Martins,Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia
Ms. Brankica Jankovic, State Secretary of Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy
Ms. Ana Milenic, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia
Mr. Marjan Gabriel, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia
Ms. Aleksandra Calosevic, Grant scheme Expert..

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Two Day Workshop in Belgrade on the Transformation Process of Residential Institutions for the Mentally Disabled and Disordered

Workshop

Workshop

A two day workshop to discuss in detail the transformation process for the 13 Residential Institutions involved in the Open Arms project and to initiate the process of developing transformation plans for each institution was attended by more than 30 representatives from Residential Institutions. The workshop was held in Belgrade on July 16th and 17th 2013.

Dr Monika Gabanyi, the project Team Leader opened the workshop proceedings and held an introductory speech regarding the transformation process in Serbia. The first day of the workshop was devoted mainly on financial issues. Mr. George Boulton, Senior Expert in Finance presented a summary baseline analysis of 2012 financial data from all social care institutions and in addition a flow of funds model regarding the current financial mechanisms for Residential Institutions, Community Based Social Services and Psychiatric Services in Serbia. The afternoon session continued with financial issues discussion and was concluded with personnel and manpower issues under the guidance of Ms. Ivana Pupic, Senior Human Resources Expert.

Participants acknowledged that the process of transformation of institutions would take some time before all conditions would be in place at the national and local level for deinstitutionalization of persons with mental disorders and disabilities. In addition they argued that there were both long term and short term financing and resource issues that had to be addressed during the planning process. Mr. Boulton stressed that the overriding consideration throughout the transformation process was the principle of social inclusion and all plans need to be coasted against this principle….

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Grant scheme consultative sessions held

Consultative session

Consultative session

More than 60 representatives from residential and psychiatric institutions, local gself-governments (LSG) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy, the Delegation of the European Union and other institutions from Serbia participated in the two consultation sessions held on 20 June 2013 as part of the project activities.

Meetings were held with aim to exchange lessons learned of the process in deinstitutionalization so the grant scheme experts would prepare the framework taking into consideration the needs and obstacles that actors face in the field. On the other hand, institutions, LSG and NGO will be able to start with preparing applications for the local projects.

Dr. Monika Gabanyi, Project Team Leader held the opening speech at the sessions and presented the project objectives and the main challenges that the project has met. The audience was addressed by Aleksandra Čalošević, senior grant scheme expert on the project. She provided objectives and framework of the expected call for local projects with grants in the total amount of 3.2 million EUR financed by the European Union, with co-financing of 15%.

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