During our first week of classes in Italy, the Florence Health Institute students traveled to a public hospital in Poggibonsi. While we were visiting, we met with Dr. Benaim, the hospital’s urologist, who gave a presentation on the healthcare system of Italy. One of the main points that we found most interesting from his presentation was that the Italian people take great pride in taking care of their loved ones at home. Few individuals spend time within the hospital. For example, the hospice unit contains only ten beds, much different from hospice facilities within our country that hold 30 or more patients. We also found it very interesting that individuals diagnosed with celiac disease are covered under the Italian healthcare system and receive gluten-free foods free of charge. Dr. Benaim also brought to light the importance of preventing disease prior to onset, another focus in Italian healthcare that differs from the United States.

We were very excited to participate in this field trip and feel that we have taken a great amount of information away from this visit. We are excited to partake in future field trips and learn more about the Italian healthcare system.