Caregivers against the municipality’s questionnaire that investigates privacy
Twenty-four questions, a rating from 0 to 4 and a final score to be reported at the bottom of a name sheet that ends up in the hands of social services. It is the new questionnaire that the municipality (not just that of Rome) sent to caregivers, people who assist family members with more or less severe disabilities or elderly people who are not self-sufficient or partially sufficient. Apparently nothing special, except that some questions try to investigate the mental state of the recipients very thoroughly, so much so that some associations have deemed it necessary to draw attention to the fact.
One of these is the non-profit organization “Oltre lo Sguardo”, with its president Elena Improta, mother of a boy suffering from spastic tetraparesis: “It is the first time that these cards have been sent – she says – and everything arises from a regional resolution of the 2021, 341 for the recognition of the caregiver figure. Attached to the resolution is a self-certification to be filled in and signed, so far so good because it is used to declare one’s role. This year, however, a card has popped up whose purpose we haven’t been able to understand.”
The specificity of some questions or statements for which i caregivers must express the degree of closeness (not at all or very much in agreement, so to speak), worries those who have found themselves having to answer: “I feel like I’m missing out on life” or “I would like to be able to escape from this situation” or “I feel like resentment towards him”. Considerations that touch very delicate chords in people who are dedicating their lives, often sacrificing personal ambitions and free time, to the care of seriously ill parents, partners or children.
Since there are few services available for families of disabled people, as Improta explains, “the State tends to delegate to us, and whoever becomes caregivers has a 24-hour responsibility, which can also lead to physical and mental problems. For us the regional resolution is fine, it is a start, but it cannot be associated with a form of this kind”. The tool is not understood: “Who evaluates what we write – Elena asks – and with what methods. Above all what is the purpose? If they want to have an overview of the situation, there is no need to ask for name and surname.”
The concern on the part of caregivers like Elena is that the final score can lead to a “ranking” or serve to establish who has more or less need for subsidies. But it gets even worse: “Asking certain questions to those who already have to manage a difficult situation on a daily basis – he continues – can bring out doubts and resentments. And then if some parents were to have a score that was too high, therefore an excessive level of stress and tiredness, could it lead to the removal of their children who would end up in some institution?”.