Personal Assistance in Portugal – Closer to Reality?

Personal Assistance in Portugal – Closer to Reality?

The Lisbon municipality has financed a pilot project for personal assistance (PA) in cooperation with the Independent Living Center (ILC) of Lisbon. Five users were selected for the project which will last for 2 years, from December 2015 until December 2017. The ILC hopes that after this project period pilot projects for personal assistance could be funded through the European Structural and Investment Funds available to Portugal. The Portuguese government is now in the process of producing guidelines for such a project.

To decide which individuals were eligible for the project, the ILC formed a commission. The government had set the rules for the project, including those for the commission to abide by. This commission interviewed all those who applied for the project. Questions were asked about the applicants’ daily lives and their aspirations for the future. . They were asked what they would like to do through PA services.  Then a support agreement was reached based on the hours of assistance needed. The budget was limited, so 5 participants were chosen.

The project also covered the adaptation of three flats for the participants included in the project. The flats are all different, but with two bedrooms each and fully adapted bathrooms and kitchens. The house has a system to control lights, window shades and the house lock, which can also be opened with a digital key.

The Lisbon municipality own the flats within their social housing fleet.  The flats are near each other, but not in the same building. The three buildings have ramps at the entrance and are to have a system for opening and closing the building door. The flat contracts last until February 2019.

There will be municipal elections this autumn. ILC hopes the elections will result in the elected politicians seeing the need to extend the existing project providing personal assistance.

Written by Diogo Martins

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