The History of the Földi Clinic

The Földi Clinic was founded as a specialist clinic for lymphology in April 1979 in Feldberg-Altglashütten. The original house “Sommerberg” was a spa-hotel with 60 beds which had previously belonged to a bank, and was rented by the married couple Professor Michael Földi and Professor Etelka Földi. After the necessary renovations, the clinic was registered for patient care according to §30 GWO and was registered as a specialist hospital by the health insurance companies according to §184 RVO. After a short period of time, the waiting list for treatment at the hospital had risen to over one year. Therefore, a hotel situated close-by with 22 beds (Haus Brunk) was rented in order to increase the clinic's capacity.

The medical personnel at that time consisted of 4 doctors, 8 nurses and 14 therapists. These were the years of improvisation, and there was a mood of attaining new horizons: the patients were delighted to find new possibilites for treating their lymphedema in a specialist clinic. At the same time the treating physicians and therapists gained increasing experience in Lymphology and were able to optimize individual diagnostic and treatment strategies. It was at this time that the interdisciplinary principle for lymphological patient care was established. Patients with secondary lymphedema after cancer treatment were treated in cooperation with the oncological centres of the University Clinic in Freiburg. Lymphscintigraphy and further imaging diagnostic examinations were performed at the local hospital in Emmendingen.

Prof. E. Földi received CHI authorization for lymphological consultation in 1979, so that out-patient lymphedema treatment could be performed in addition to in-patient treatment. Complex Physical Decongestive Therapy (CDT) was established at the clinic based on manual lymph drainage and furthered with additional therapies. Complex Physical Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is now recognized as the basis for conservative lymphedema treatment, embedded in an internistic integral concept. The therapeutic results were convincing.

Many doctors from Germany and the world visited the clinic, as well as hospital operators and health politicians: The foundation of a model clinic was planned, to be financed by the State and Federation, which the clinic founders welcomed. After this plan failed in Stuttgart, the clinic management created their own plan for the further development of the specialist lymphological clinic on their own initiative and without shying the risks: The Professors Földi bought the Hotel Weißes Rössle in Hinterzarten with 96 beds at that time. After extensive renovations, the Földi Clinic was able to reopen its doors on 24th September 1986. The number of personnel had increased accordingly to meet the new challenges: 7 physicians, 15 nurses, 24 physiotherapists as well as service personnel.

The extension of the clinic was mirrored not only in the increase in bed capacity, but also in the optimization of interdisciplinary treatment.

The demand for therapy continued to grow. Despite the first health system reform laws in 1989, a plan for the extension of the Földi Clinic by 37 beds was presented to funding parties. In 1992 a new ward was opened. The second expansion phase also began with a further 37 beds in 2003/2004. The Földi Clinic now has a capacity of 152 beds on 5 wards, which have been named after pioneers of Lymphology.

The Földi Clinic personnel has had an excellent team spirit from the beginning, and a good atmosphere is still present amongst the staff, the numbers of which have now grown to 170. Cooperation with the University Clinic in Freiburg has also been intensified; a cooperation agreement has been signed in the meantime. Within the clinic itself thematic foci have been established, such as in e.g. pediatric lymphology, i.e. the care of children with congenital lymphedema, oncological lymphology, i.e. the care of patients with secondary lymphedema after cancer treatment, and geriatric lymphology, i.e. the care of older patients with lymphedema and usually numerous accompanying diseases.

A further focus of the Földi Clinic is the interdisciplinary care of patients with lymphedema associated with obesity. Extensive nutritional advice, exercise programs and psychological support have been established.