Siirry sivun sisältöön.

History of Live Foundation

More than 80 years of socially meaningful work!

    From Invalidisäätiö to Live Foundation

    The foundation was established in the summer of 1940 to provide treatment, rehabilitation and vocational training to those injured in the Winter War.

    At the same time, a cluster of rehabilitation centres, a rarity even at a global scale, was created in Ruskeasuo, Helsinki. Today, the cluster continues to produce diverse services from challenging medical care to vocational rehabilitation and training.

    Since its establishment, the foundation has played a key role in developing Finnish health care and rehabilitation. The hospital operating under the foundation was a hub of medical innovation in Finland, orchestrating the first joint replacement surgery in the country in 1967 and the first endoscopic surgery in 1976. The foundation gave up its hospital activities in 2017 after selling Orton Ltd. The company continues its operations in the hospital building in Ruskeasuo.

    Over the decades, the foundation’s vocational college has developed into one of the leading special education institutions in the country, ensuring the students’ graduation and integration into working life and society by means of individual teaching and guidance. In 1982, the college was named Keskuspuisto Vocational College, and in 2009, it merged with the Arla Institute located in Espoo’s Leppävaara. The current name, Live Vocational College, was adopted in August 2018 as the foundation compiled its operations under the Live service brand.

    In 2012, the foundation established Orton Pro that quickly developed into a diverse expert and coaching service for vocational rehabilitation and employment, focusing on supporting the employment, coping and working life integration of those in need of special support. Between 2018 and 2021, the unit operated under the name Live Services. Live continues to provide and develop individual and diverse employment services for its customers.

    In June 2021, Invalidisäätiö was renamed Live Foundation, bringing the foundation and its service brands together under the overall Live concept.



    Invalidisäätiö was established 26 June 1940 to provide treatment, rehabilitation, education and training to those injured in the Winter War. In 1943, the main building in Helsinki’s Ruskeasuo was completed. The facilities were first used to treat and rehabilitate disabled veterans, war widows and war orphans. The first civilian patients were treated in the orthopaedic hospital of Invalidisäätiö in 1943. That is also when the foundation launched its educational activities. The first activities to be taught included woodwork, metalwork, upholstery, painting, tailoring and shoemaking. Women worked in the sewing shop, the hat-maker’s workshop and in the college’s kitchen.



    In the 1950s, Invalidisäätiö created the foundation for medical research, resulting in a large number of dissertations and scientific publications. The first field-specific curricula of the college were drafted in the 1950s. In 1953, the educational activities intended for disabled veterans were discontinued and the special education activities were launched.


    In the 1960s, the development of clinical examinations and treatment methods focused particularly on developmental disorders of the hip, osteoarthritis and tuberculous spondylitis or Pott’s disease. In 1967, the first joint replacement surgeries in Finland were carried out at the Invalidisäätiö hospital. In 1963, the Prosthesis Foundation was founded.In the 1960s, a vocational clinic was launched on the basis of workshop activities started in the 1940s to organise work trials as well as work training. The college expanded its range of studies and the number of students. In December 1964, guest of honour and First Lady Sylvi Kekkonen was given a tour of the college to learn about the female students’ education and training.



    As life expectancy increased in the 1970s, the range of diseases expanded and musculoskeletal and geriatric disorders became more common. Invalidisäätiö was actively involved in developing specialised, demanding orthopaedic surgery. In 1976, the first endoscopic surgery in Finland was carried out in the orthopaedic hospital of Invalidisäätiö. The work trial activities of the vocational clinic were extremely popular. The multi-professional way of working, characteristic of Invalidisäätiö, was also used at the vocational clinic. In the 1970s, the college continued expanding its range of studies and the number of students.


    Health care operators started to concentrate demanding procedures into specialised units. A research unit for the back and spine and a surgical unit for rheumatism were established in 1982 in the Invalidisäätiö hospital. In 1982, the college was named Keskuspuisto Vocational College to better correspond with the clientele. In 1987, the adult education department of the college was founded. In 1989, student housing was completed in Ruskeasuo, Helsinki.



    In 1992, Orton was selected as the brand name of health care services. As a result, the units of Invalidisäätiö were renamed Hospital Orton, Rehabilitation Orton and Scientific Research Orton. Invalidisäätiö’s vocational college was renamed the Keskuspuisto Vocational College in 1995 as forms of work were increasing and the student population kept growing in size and becoming more diverse.


    The competition in the health care sector impacted the operations of Hospital Orton and Rehabilitation Orton. The hospital and rehabilitation services were incorporated in 2010. In 2009, the state gave up its ownership of special education institutions, and the previously state-owned Arla Institute in Leppävaara, Espoo was merged with the Keskuspuisto Vocational College.



    Invalidisäätiö sold the entire share capital of Orton Ltd to HUS and Mehiläinen in 2017. Orton’s operations continue in the Ruskeasuo hospital facilities of Invalidisäätiö. In 2012, Invalidisäätiö founded a vocational rehabilitation and coaching unit, then called Orton Pro and now known as Live Services. Previously called the Keskuspuisto Vocational College, Invalidisäätiö’s Live Vocational College celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2012.

    To be continued...