Basel in the 1970s: while on the job, the young doctor Guido A. Zäch discovered just how little hope Switzerland offered residents who were living with spinal cord injuries: long hospital stays, poor medical care and no career perspectives.
Taking matters into his own hands, he decided to campaign for improvements in the treatment of paraplegics. He sought to make paraplegics equals, allowing them to enjoy an autonomous way of life instead of remaining marginalised members of society. His goal was to create a centre of expertise where all those affected by spinal cord injuries in Switzerland and surrounding countries could meet. The centre was to provide for the comprehensive rehabilitation and professional and social reintegration of people affected by spinal cord injuries. Little by little, Guido created an organisation with an extensive range of services.
1975: Founding of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation (SPF)
1978: Founding of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation Benefactors' Association
1980: Founding of the Swiss Paraplegics Association (SPA)
1990: Opening of the Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC) in Nottwil
1994: Founding of Orthotec AG
2002: Founding of Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPR)
2003: Founding of the Swiss Institute of Emergency Medicine (Sirmed)
2005: Opening of the Guido A. Zäch Institute (GZI) in Nottwil
With the opening of the Guido A. Zäch Institute in Nottwil, a unique and integral network of services became available for people living with a back or spinal cord injury. The Swiss Paraplegic Group (SPG) is made up of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation (SPF) and the latter’s subsidiaries and partner organisations.
Video clip Swiss Paraplegic Group
A unique network of services
The Swiss Paraplegic Group places the patient front and centre, doing its utmost to achieve its overall goal of meeting the needs of people affected by spinal cord injuries. The SPG acts responsibly with regard to its sponsors, uses resources for their intended purpose and provides transparent information regarding its activities. Its daily work is governed by trust, esteem, teamwork, results and the maintenance of its pioneering role in the industry.
The Swiss Paraplegic Group (SPG) is a global and unique network of services that provides for the comprehensive rehabilitation of people living with spinal cord injuries – from the scene of the accident or the diagnosis of a disease until the end of the patients’ lives. The SPG offers services in four key areas: Solidarity (Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, Benefactors’ Association, Hotel Sempachersee), Medicine (Swiss Paraplegic Centre, ParaHelp), Education, research, innovation (Swiss Paraplegic Research, Sirmed, Innovation Centre for Assistive Technology) and Integration and lifelong assistance (Swiss Paraplegics Association, Orthotec, Active Communication). Around 1,800 professionals and specialists from a variety of areas and disciplines work together closely to fulfil this core mission.