Guttmann institute boosts independent living in Barcelona
Apartments for disabled patients give second life to old hospital where institution was born 53 years ago
Catalonia’s leading neurorehabilitation center, the Institut Guttmann, will house its patients with disabilities during the recovery process, in a boost to independent living.
The apartments, located in Barcelona’s La Sagrera neighborhood, were inaugurated on Wednesday in the same building where the institution opened its first hospital, on November 27, 1965. The opening was attended by the Catalan president and some of this ministers.
At the time, it became the first hospital dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of people affected by spinal cord injuries in Catalonia and Spain.
In order to meet growing demand, the Institut Guttmann moved to the neighboring city of Badalona in 2002, setting up its headquarters in a 17,000 m2 building. Last year, 4,878 patients were seen in the Institut Guttmann hospital.
Following the move to Badalona, the institution’s old hospital in Barcelona was left unused. The apartments for patients thus provide a second life to the cradle of the Institut Guttmann.
Francesc Homs, the president of the institution’s board, stressed that the Institut Guttmann was coming back to Barcelona "with a foot deeply rooted in Badalona."
The building also hosts the Brain Health Institute, offering specialized services in the field of neurorehabilitation.
The institution was founded by Guillermo González Gilbey, a quadriplegic who wanted other people with spinal cord injuries to receive specialized care after being successfully treated by Dr Ludwig Guttmann in England.
Led by Miquel Sarrias Domingo, an apprentice to Dr Guttmann himself, the Institut Guttmann developed into a highly-recognized multidisciplinary organization, including a research center ascribed to the Autonomous University of Barcelona, developing research projects in the field of disability and offering specialized master’s programmes.