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The intensive care unit


The intensive care unit
The aim of the ICU is to restore the vital functions of patients whose lives are under acute threat. We stabilise these patients and enable them to receive further care on the normal ward. If a patient's condition is terminal, we offer palliative care during his end-of-life stage.

Insufficient knowledge of how to treat paraplegics greatly increases the risk of complications. We avoid these specific complications by employing specially trained staff. The intensive care unit which is integrated into the SPC enables us to accept patients from other clinics early on.

Bridging medicine and people
The intensive care unit is the first point of contact with the SPC for new accident victims and their family members. Working with these people presents a challenge. Keeping them informed is of paramount importance: informed about the patient's condition, as well as about the prognosis for their condition. It is up to the intensive care staff to act as bedside intermediaries between the medical personnel and the person.

In addition to intensive treatment for new accident victims or post-operative patients, the ICU's catalogue of services also includes treatment of all clinical pictures presented in internal medicine and neurology. It focuses especially on care for patients who have been ventilated for a long time, and on the typical complications experienced by paraplegics.

The ICU has eight beds and one observation support point. The unit is run jointly by the medical director (FMH Intensive Care Medicine) and the nursing manager. The clinic's training role is undertaken by a trainer nurse, who organises the further training of staff.

The intensive care unit looks after patients in critical care situations. These patients require intensive therapy, care or observation. They receive round-the-clock care all year long from specialist nursing and medical staff. The intensive care unit is also responsible for maintaining the resuscitation standby service at the SPC Nottwil.

The ICU's patients include people

  • who are post-operative (new injury victims admitted as emergencies, patients after elective surgery)
  • with serious mono trauma or poly trauma
  • after secondary transfer from an acute hospital
  • with respiratory insufficiency (patients who receive acute or permanent ventilation)
  • after an acute episode or after resuscitation
  • with indications for invasive therapy

The following measures increase the quality of the services offered by the IPS:

  • Interdisciplinary and inter-professional cooperation guarantee rehabilitation based on the very latest scientific know-how
  • Continuous further training within and outside the SPC improve the quality of patient care
  • New employees receive induction on the basis of checklists
  • The daily work is based on guidelines and directives
  • All employees receive annual training in immediate life-saving techniques
  • The intensive care is safeguarded by complete electronic documentation for a prompt, readable, standardised recording of the whole process


Patients with para and tetraplegia

The SPC is one of the world's leading centres for the lifelong care of patients with spinal paralysis.

Patients with neuromuscular diseases
Care and treatment of patients with specific neuromuscular diseases (such as  Guillain-Barré syndrome, muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

Permanently ventilated patients
Setting up home ventilation in patients who require permanent breathing assistance.

Through decades of experience and the use of differentiated weaning concepts, ventilated patients can be weaned from the ventilator during the day or even altogether.

Cannula management
In addition to pure respiratory system management, the ability to communicate and swallow is of central importance.

We support our patients' limited ability to communicate through cooperation between the teams of Care, Ergotherapy, Speech Therapy and Medicine professionals.

In-service and further training
The IPS offers various options for in-service and further training:

  • The IPS is used as a venue for a one-year further training course in Intensive Medicine (cat. C) which is recognised by the FMH
  • The IPS provides specialist nursing staff to support interns and HF trainees
  • The IPS supports other areas of treatment with further training courses on respiratory therapy, resuscitation, permanent respiration, etc.
  • The IPS is represented at national and international congresses delivering papers about intensive medicine and care and about paraplegia

You are very welcome to the SPC's intensive care unit! Please take note of the following information when you visit your relatives. This will help to ensure that your visit runs smoothly and pleasantly for our patients.

We recommend that you choose one member of the family to act as our point of contact. This will make communication between you and us easier. Please contact the attending doctor for medical information. The nursing team will be happy to help to arrange for you to speak to the doctor.


Additional information


Swiss Paraplegic Centre
Intensive Care Unit
Guido A. Zächstrasse 1
CH-6207 Nottwil

Director: Peter Felleiter

T +41 41 939 54 54
F +41 41 939 54 40

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