Swiss Weaning Centre - Respiratory Medicine
A core competency of the Swiss Paraplegic Centre
The Swiss Weaning Centre is Switzerland’s leading expert in the area of respiratory medicine. An interdisciplinary team of specialists from the fields of intensive care, pneumology, rehabilitation, speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy helps patients with and without spinal cord injuries to gradually wean themselves off mechanical ventilation.
Weaning therapy is performed on mechanically ventilated patients in both the Intensive Care Unit and the general ward. When mechanical ventilation is required at home, we deploy an expert team to help set up the ventilators, as well as “flying nurses” to supervise the patients.
Weaning, or the process of liberating a patient from mechanical ventilation, poses a challenge for patients who suffer from multiple conditions in addition to their primary disorder (polymorbidity). Continuous ventilation in intensive care units, general long-term ventilation and home-based ventilation therapies are on the rise in Switzerland, as well as the entire Western world. To work, these therapies require professional know-how and specialised resources.
For clinics, long patient stays in the Intensive Care Unit due to lengthy mechanical ventilation weaning are both costly and counterproductive. At the end of the day, high bed occupancy generally leads to admission freezes and refusals or the postponement of elective surgeries.
At the Swiss Paraplegic Centre, we have spent years developing and refining the “weaning” of people with spinal cord injuries, making the procedure one of our key areas of expertise. For patients whose injuries occur on the upper level of the spinal column, mechanical ventilation, weaning, the setting up of ventilators at home, tube management and comprehensive airway management are part of everyday life. An experienced team of interdisciplinary professionals is available to meet the needs of these patients at all hours of the day or night. This core process includes treatment, care and the counselling and training of patients and their loved ones – from the acute phase all the way to home-based aftercare.
Over the past few years, we have therefore created a unique, comprehensive and decentralised approach to ventilation which can be applied both in Switzerland and abroad. This method can also be used for other types of patients who require long-term mechanical ventilation. The Swiss Weaning Centre offers this service to the Swiss healthcare community.