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Development of Advanced Physiotherapy Practice (APP) Models in Switzerland

The Institute of Physiotherapy at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO) are working together to develop Advanced Physiotherapy Practice (APP) models to optimise career opportunities for physiotherapists in Switzerland and encourage  continuation within the profession.

Initial Position

Demographic and epidemiological developments in Switzerland are leading to a continuous increase in the number of patients with chronic diseases and a corresponding increase in demand for physiotherapeutic treatments. An acute shortage of skilled professionals in the care of these patients is to be expected, unless other factors influencing health care determinants are modified in an appropriate way.

This project is a part of the cooperation between the Swiss Health Universities for the development of a centre of competence on the shortage of skilled professionals in the health care professions. Projects in various locations are working to develop basic knowledge and measures on these subjects.


This project is concerned with the development of Advanced Practice models in physiotherapy (APP). APP models facilitate patients’ access to more cost-effective treatment; provide therapists with additional career opportunities and, in doing so, encourage their continuation in practice.

Methods and Procedures

The project is structured in four phases:

  1. Literature research on APP job profiles
  2. Survey of job profiles, tasks and responsibilities of physiotherapists with APP functions in Switzerland
  3. Survey of the expectations and visions of the various stakeholder groups with regard to APP models
  4. Synthesis of the insights gained and description of possible APP models for Switzerland


The results are due in the summer of 2019. The developed APP models will provide the basis for future pilot projects, in which the APP models can be implemented and evaluated. In addition, they will supply information on the future requirements for physiotherapeutic education and training curricula.

Project Partners

  • PD Dr. Lara Allet, Prof. University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland HES-SO
  • Dr. Peter Oesch, Clinic Valens

Project Organisation

  • Project Leadership
    Dr. phil. Irina Nast & Mandy Scheermesser M.A. 
  • Project Duration
    Early 2017 – Summer 2019 
  • Project Team
    Marina Bruderer, Luciana Caduff, Tiziana Grillo, Christine Heinzmann, Martin Huber, Muriel Keller, Barbara Laube, Irina Nast, Karin Niedermann, Astrid Schaemann, Mandy Scheermesser, Markus Wirz
  • Project Partners
    PD Dr. Lara Allet, Prof., HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland; Dr. Peter Oesch, Clinic Valens
  • Finance
    - Swiss Universities within the framework of project-specific contributions Physiotherapy Sciences Foundation
    - Swiss Physiotherapy Association physioswiss
  • Project Status