Joana Torres, representative of ASAMDIB in Menorca: "Thirty-five people travel daily from Menorca for health issues and it is our obligation to help them"
Joana Torres knows in her own flesh what it is to come and go to Palma for medical reasons. The personal situation they lived in the family pushed her to be part of the association for children who developed cáncer, ASPANOB. Now she is also the representative of ASAMDIB, the Association of Assistance to the Displaced Patient of the Balearic Islands, through which they help patients of all kinds with stays in Palma and Barcelona due to health problems.
What does it mean for ASAMDIB to have won the Royal Son Bou Family Grant?
The Royal Son Bou Grant helps us a lot! Apart from being very happy for the recognition they have made of the ASAMDIB project, it is very important because it represents half a year of renting the apartment in Palma, where we serve the patients and their displaced companions. ASAMBID by itself is not sufficiently known yet. Until two years ago, it was unable to enjoy some grants .Therefore, all the money that arrives can be used to improve the living conditions of a family that, with minimum subsidies of 400 euros, is forced to separate to receive treatment. And while one part is in Menorca, the other part of the family must travel to Barcelona. As has happened to us more than once.
What is the main objective of ASAMDIB?
The priority of the association is the quality of life of the patient, whatever age they may be. Although, if it is a child, it has priority over an adult. We give psychological and emotional support to both the patient and the companion. Because in order to take good care, you have to be careful. We also give financial support, combining the resources that ASPANOB has.
Is the relationship with ASPANOB close?
In fact, ASAMDIB is a consequence of ASPANOB, which covers cancer patients aged 0 to 18 years. It happened to us, however, that many patients with other pathologies asked us for help to cover a stay in Palma to receive treatment. And if we had the possibility because the two flats of ASPANOB were not full, we gave this help, even if it was not the profile. Sometimes it is not a matter of what you can do, but of what you want to do. There are cases that cannot be ignored in any way and we try to serve everyone we can. For example, we were faced with many cases that asked us for help to make the stay in Palma, where in Can Granada they were paid 95 euros per night and person. In this residence only certain services are covered for the companions of patients, who have to go with some very specific roles of IB Health. The vast majority of associations of other types of non-cancer pathologies, such as ALCER, do not have a flat in Palma to offer. Hence the idea of creating an association to help displaced patients, whatever the disease or condition.
How does ASAMDIB work?
In Menorca, ASAMDIB has a smaller structure than in Mallorca, myself as a representative, a psychologist and volunteers, which we share with ASPANOB. ASAMBID by itself does not reach some of the things we can do through ASPANOB because it is a much younger association. Five years ago it was created, compared to the more than 30 that ASPANOB has. We have a place in Es Mercadal, and we work closely with the headquarters of Palma, where there is a president, a manager, a secretary and a psychologist. In Palma we also have the apartment, which consists of four rooms, one doublé room and three single ones. These resources are shared with ASPANOB, which has two more flats that are used interchangeably, depending on the demand of each moment.
Is the ASAMDIB project then for residents in the minor islands, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera?
Users are mostly from the smaller islands. Although the Part Forana of Mallorca also suffers isolation within the same island, because it is assumed that a patient can arrive at the hospital without having to catch a plane. But in cases of patients who are in the ICU, the companions want to be close, and according to which population of Mallorca they come from, they have two hours of going and two hours back by road. There are also patients who undergo chemo or radio treatment who have to make a four-hour trip for five minutes and have to cross the island without being able to do so.
And this floor of ASAMDIB is used steadily?
Yes. And it will continue to be used. We are an island with limitations and we have assumed it. By population, there are services that we will not have and we will always have to move. There are 35 people daily who travel to Mallorca to receive treatment. This is why ASAMDIB emerged, because they usually know when they leave, but not when they return. What is missing most is humanity.
In 2018, ASAMDIB served seven children and twelve companions in the wwelfare flats. While it gave 18 people psychosocial coverage in Mallorca and 60 in Menorca.