Project ITHACA (Institutional Treatment, Human Rights and Care
Assessment) identifies and disseminates best practice to improve the
protection of human rights and dignity and the general health status of
residents in health or social care institutions with mental ill-health,
mental disabilities or dependency.
Altogether fifteen European countries are participating in the
project and carrying out the research. Moreover, a wide range of
collaborating organizations are serving as an advisory group.
ITHACA is organised in five Work Packages, carried out by five Work
Package Leads. Their responsibilities are the development of an
assessment tool concerning the human rights and dignity and the general
health status of residents in psychiatric and social care institutions,
as well as the coordination and evaluation of the project and the
dissemination of its results.
In order to reach the defined objectives, a thorough literature review
is carried out, focus groups are organized and an assessment tool is
The collaborative efforts of 15 organizations involved in
ITHACA will produce a monitoring toolkit based on the CRPD. The toolkit
will provide information on monitoring practices, explain appropriate
human rights literature and conventions and outline an on-site visit
audit. This audit/monitoring visit will involve a team of monitors who
would make observations of the physical conditions and the quality of
care received by service users. In addition, these monitors will
conduct interviews with residents, staff and institution directors, and
examine relevant documentation. The data collected from these visits
will be compiled into reports for people involved at all levels of
mental health care, from service users and family members to
support/care staff and government officials. The findings from these
monitoring visits will be used by local and international advocacy
groups as evidence for lobbying and initiating change within the
systems which produce human rights violations.
The ITHACA project is funded by the European Commission DG Sanco, its
duration is from May 2007 to April 2010.