Eloise Taylor

I worked as a volunteer for a month at Piña Palmera during February 2017. I was horrified to find the opposite of the description written on their website. I am seriously concerned about the welfare of the four people who live on-site in Piña Palmera with severe disabilities and who experienced neglect under the care of Piña. They live a largely isolated life separated from the day to day activities of Piña.

Jose is seriously underweight and screams out for food. His skin is severely dry which itches him. He is routinely roughly handled by some of the carers, banging his head, pulling him roughly around. He is not allowed to masturbate himself, his hand is taken away while his nappy is changed so he cannot touch himself.  He spends most of his time seated (although can walk), in a hammock or in bed. most nights I could hear him banging loudly on his bed, which resembles a cage that he is locked into at night, for hours as he is not tired enough to sleep. He lacks a special diet, physical movement in his daily life and mental stimulation, music therapy would be ideal for him.

Paz who could walk not so long ago after not receiving sufficient physio under Piña is now confined to a wheel chair. she needs regular physiotherapy and daily exercise and more mental stimulation and social interaction, she needs Piña to include her more into the daily life of the community, this will help elevate her depression. She needs Piña to think of bespoke activities for her thinking first of her needs.

Alfredo is severely neglected and has been left for years to deteriorate in his condition. He needs urgent daily physiotherapy. He suffers constant pain being left in his bed or day bed for most of the time. Some of the carers handle him very roughly. He needs much more social interaction.

Malena also needs more physical movement integrated into her daily life as well as physiotherapy to help her gain more movement and ease her pain.

The special care unit of Piña resembles a very conventional care home where the carers are not valued, not sufficiently trained, and badly paid by Piña. I found there was no political will by those in charge at Piña to improve the quality of life of these 4 people although it is completely possible within the resources of Piña to do so. Instead of finding an example of valuing the human rights of these people and allowing them a quality and dignified life I found the attitude of the senior staff at Piña to be prejudiced, dismissing their welfare as of not much importance. Within Piña there are enough trained physiotherapy staff and volunteer physiotherapists to implement a consistent physio programme for the people who live in Special Care but the physiotherapy department at Piña have decided against this. The special care unit needs to be a priority of Piña with sufficient staff time and volunteer time allocated to it. As with other volunteer activities the special care unit could have two rotations of volunteers thus extending the hours of contact time with volunteers. In general community of Piña needs to work around the needs of these four people rather than them being segregated and treated as useless members of this community. As it stands Piña is a fraud and appears to house the people that live in Special Care to attract donations (visitors are daily shown around their zoo like home).