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Swiss Paraplegic Group today

The Swiss Paraplegic Group (SPG) is a globally unique network of services for the comprehensive rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injury – from the scene of the accident or the diagnosis of a disease and throughout their lifetime. The SPG provides services in four key areas: Solidarity (Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, Benefactors’ Association, Hotel Sempachersee), Medicine (Swiss Paraplegic Centre, ParaHelp, Sirmed), Research (Swiss Paraplegic Research) as well as Integration and Lifelong Assistance (Swiss Paraplegic Association, Orthotec). Around 1,600 professionals and specialists from a variety of areas and disciplines work closely together to fulfil the core mission.

Management structure of the Swiss Paraplegic Group
Structure of the Swiss Paraplgeic Group

Swiss Paraplegic Foundation (FSP):
The Swiss Paraplegic Foundation (SPF) is part of Switzerland’s largest charitable solidarity network. The Swiss Paraplegic Group comprises an integrated network of services for people with spinal cord injury. Its complete, connected network of services from the scene of the accident, medical care and rehabilitation through to lifelong support and advice is unique. The membership of the Benefactors’ Association of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation of 1.8 million people ensures that there is a sustainable financial basis for the activities of this solidarity network. Around 1,600 employees are committed towards performing their challenging duties day in, day out. The SPF was founded by Dr Guido A. Zäch in 1975.

Benefactors' Association of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation:
With over 1.8 million members, the Benefactors’ Association of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, is one of the largest membership organisations in Switzerland. It was formed in 1978. Thanks to the solidarity of the benefactors, membership fees enable the Foundation’s objectives to be met: comprehensive treatment, rehabilitation and social integration of paraplegics and tetraplegics into family, occupation and society. Members receive a support payment of 250,000 francs if they suffer a spinal cord injury in an accident which results in permanent dependence on a wheelchair. This support payment not only unparalleled in Switzerland, it is unique in the world.

Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC):
The Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC) is a privately owned clinic which is acclaimed nationwide, specialising in primary care, acute treatment, comprehensive rehabilitation and lifelong assistance for people with spinal cord injuries and similar syndromes. The SPC has 150 beds, including an intensive care unit. The annual bed occupancy is 97%. In 2016, the SPC provided 1,085 in-patient treatments and almost 53,000 days of care. The SPC employs over 1,100 people from 80 vocational backgrounds. Since opening in 1990 over 250,000 in-patient and out-patient treatments have been conducted in the Centre.
The SPC was opened by Dr Guido A. Zäch in 1990. The specialist clinic is part of the Swiss Paraplegic Group (SPG), which forms an integrated network for the comprehensive rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injury. The network is supported by the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation (SPF).

Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPR):
Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPR) is a research institution which is supported by the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation (SPF) and was founded in 2000. SPR employs 65 members of staff. SPR is essentially concerned with conducting comprehensive rehabilitation research into the interaction between physical, mental and social factors in the development and overcoming of disabilities. SPR cooperates with other organisations on a national and international level. SPR performs an important function in Switzerland’s research environment with its recognition and promotion as a non-university research institution by the Swiss government and by the cantonal authorities, and with the creation of a foundation professorship and Department of Health Sciences and Health Policy at the University of Lucerne, as well as the launch of a Master Program in Health Sciences.

Interactive online platform "Paraforum":
This website is a forum for people with spinal cord injuries, their relatives and specialists from around the world.

"Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Cohort Study" (SwiSCI):
This is the national research platform for people with spinal cord injuries, operated by Swiss Paraplegic Research in association with all the centres for paraplegia in Switzerland and SUVA (Swiss Accident Insurance Fund).

Swiss Paraplegic Association (SPA):
The Swiss Paraplegic Association (SPA), which was founded in 1980, is the national umbrella organisation for people with spinal cord injury and has a membership of around 11,000. It promotes, represents and coordinates the interests of people with paraplegia and tetraplegia as well as those of other members throughout Switzerland. In addition, it supports 27 regional wheelchair clubs nationwide.

The social, political and personal concerns of the members are championed by about 220 employees (100 of whom are permanent staff), as well as 2,000 volunteers. They are committed to aiding the reintegration of paraplegics and tetraplegics into society as well as enhancing their quality of life. The range of services includes the Institute for Legal Advice, Wheelchair Sport Switzerland (promotion of elite and grassroots sport), the Centre for Obstacle-free Building, as well as the department of Life Guidance and the department of Culture and Leisure, which has its own travel office and fleet of tour buses. The SPA also publishes the Paracontact magazine for members, along with the sports newsletter GoAhead and the hotel search engine for wheelchair users Furthermore, SPA offers information on all kinds of sports events at

Swiss Olympic Medical Centre 'Sports Medicine Nottwil':
Sports Medicine Nottwil is one of Switzerland’s leading institutions for sports medicine. As an accredited Swiss Olympic Medical Centre (SOMC), it advises and supports athletes with and without disabilities. It offers elite athletes and ambitious sports enthusiasts alike excellent infrastructure and competent advice in the areas of performance physiology, acute medicine and injury prevention. The SOMC provides sports associations with expertise and services for implementing their sports medicine concepts effectively. Another unique service offered by Sports Medicine Nottwil is the international network for performance physiology within the institution. Sports Medicine Nottwil/SOMC is a specialised medical department of the Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC).

ParaHelp Ltd:
The Swiss Paraplegic Foundation (SPF) maintains a unique network of services in Nottwil for people with spinal cord injury. Its subsidiary ParaHelp advises and supports people nationwide who have SCI disabilities and their families on matters of care and support, tailoring its advice to suit their specific needs. Pivotal to this is rehabilitation at home, avoiding complications and promoting quality of life.

Orthotec Ltd:
Orthotec is a subsidiary of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation (SPF) with its headquarters in the Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC) in Nottwil. Orthotec provides a full range of services in orthopaedics, rehabilitation and wheelchair technology, as well as in vehicle adaptation, for patients at the SPC. Orthotec is also a market leader in the area of incontinence care.

SIRMED Ltd Swiss Institute for Rescue Medicine:
Sirmed, the Swiss Institute of Emergency Medicine, is a subsidiary of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation (SPF), which maintains a unique network of services in Nottwil for people with a spinal cord injury. Sirmed is chiefly concerned with delivering high-quality training in rescue and emergency medicine. The courses are provided for lay people as well as professionals.  

Hotel Sempachersee:
The Hotel Sempachersee (HSS) in Nottwil is a subsidiary of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation. The HSS is certified for conformity to ISO and has already been named Swiss Seminar Hotel of the Year on eight occasions. Following conversion work in autumn 2017, it now offers 41 seminar rooms, three external seminar platforms, two auditoria, a lecture hall, the à la carte restaurant Sempia, the free-flow restaurant Vivace as well as the banquet restaurant Aurora, the Lago bar with its garden lounge, the Onda bar in the GZI and 150 bedrooms. Thanks to its obstacle-free infrastructure, the HSS is ideal for meetings between able-bodied people and wheelchair users.

The Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC) is being renovated and extended
Following the ground-breaking ceremony on 1st October 2015, the construction project in Nottwil is now well underway in line with the motto “We are developing a success story further”. The extension will make room for extra wards, a new intensive care unit and state-of-the-art operating theatres. It is a reaction to the capacity constraints of recent years. In future, we will be able to treat around 1,300 inpatients instead of the current 1,000. 190 beds will be available for this purpose from the end of 2020.
The extension should be ready for occupation in mid-2018.
The clinic will continue to offer full outpatient and inpatient services throughout the construction period.


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