Medical programs in Vela Luka

Kalos – Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation

Patients with severe disability and dependency who cannot be treated in other settings receive inpatient rehabilitation. Such rehabilitation is usually provided after an acute disease (eg, stroke or polyneuropathy), trauma (eg, compound fractures, craniocerebral or spinal injuries), surgical treatment (eg, intracranial meningioma surgery, hip or knee replacement, or amputation of lower limbs), deterioration in the course of a chronic disease (eg, arthritis), or in case of congenital malformations and birth-related injury. Facilities providing this type of care are usually established in large cities to allow for the easier recruitment of rehabilitation professionals and enable the family to participate in the care of the sick member and become a part of the rehabilitation team. Except for the facilities originally intended for other purposes, such as a rehabilitation facility in the Czech Republic located in a remote forest region and built for the treatment of tuberculosis, they are rarely located away from the cities.

Kalos rehabilitation hospital in Vela Luka on the island of Korčula in Croatia is also one of such facilities. Established in 1972, it marked its 46th anniversary last year.

Vela Luka is located at the tip of a long, wide bay with many coves. One of these coves, called Kale (hence the name Kalos), contains large amounts of mineral peloid mud, which has for a long time been used for the alleviation of musculoskeletal symptoms. In 1955, a wooden barrack was built at the site and the experimental exploitation of the heated mud and the adjacent source of radioactive mineral water containing radon began. In 1972, at the site of the wooden barrack, a spa resort was constructed with a ward for diagnostic procedures and physical therapy; it was the beginning of the Kalos institution. In 1977, a facility for inpatients was added, at first as a part of a hotel enterprise and, since 1978, as an autonomous health institution. In a reform of the health care system in 1993, Kalos received the status of a “special hospital for medical rehabilitation,” together with 9 former spas in Croatia.

Today, Kalos has 250 beds. About a half of its capacity is used by the beneficiaries of the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (CIHI), while the rest is offered to self-paying customers – mostly patients from the neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized groups of retired people, or health tourists.

The hospital annually provides rehabilitation to nearly 3500 CIHI beneficiaries, 1400 (44%) of which are nearly immobile and in high degree of dependency.

Although it is an accepted practice to establish city-centered facilities for inpatient rehabilitation, Kalos hospital has demonstrated that, in spite of disadvantages due to remoteness (35 nautical miles from the nearest land and 200 km from the nearest hospital), dedicated, motivated, and well-organized rehabilitation professionals can make their facility function effectively, contribute to the education of medical students, and fulfill vital tasks in emergency situations.

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