Janina Mironczuk

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2009


This profile was prepared when Janina Mironczuk was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Janina is creating space for the care and rehabilitation of apallic patients, a group traditionally ignored by Poland’s health care system. Her system of specialist centers offers care for patients both during their vegetative state and after they have awakened. Janina is leading change in the medical field, proving that there is “life in a coma” and that apallic patients possess human dignity, like every patient. At the same time, Janina is solving an important ethical problem—the disregard for this group of heavily disabled people by the health care system and society.

Janina has developed innovative methods to work with apallic patients, including various sensory activities, she provides the best possible care to keep individuals in good physical condition during their vegetative state, but also with the aim of awakening patients from this state. Through introducing the idea of neurological rehabilitation for awakened adults, which is a completely novel form of treatment in Poland, Janina is designing from scratch the system of care for their awakening, thereby offering a higher chance of recovery.

To deepen her impact, Janina has organized a successful volunteer movement that is changing the public misperception that the apallic state is a terminal illness. She is engaging the families of apallic and awakened patients by offering therapeutic support services and teaching them how to professionally care for their sick family members. Janina developed standards of training for professionals and families, and is significantly influencing routine and regulations in this underserved medical area.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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