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Valens therapies research

Scientific work has a long tradition in the therapies used by the Valens Clinics. Findings from research tasks are used by therapists to check applied therapy methods and enable the development of new investigation and treatment methods.

The scientific work performed by Valens' physiotherapists, ergotherapists and sports therapists have been honoured with various research prizes from home and abroad. In addition, the expertise of the scientific staff in the therapies used by the Valens Clinic enabled successful participation in research projects financed by the Federal Health Office, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the ergonomics-related interests community better known as the Swiss Association for Rehabilitation, as well as EU research programs.

Geriatric rehabilitation

These projects are undertaken in interdisciplinary collaboration with the rheumatology and internal rehabilitation clinic.

Ambient Assisted Living

Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) is a European research and development program in which a total of 23 partner States, including Switzerland, participate. The aim of this six-year program (2008 – 2013) is improvement of the quality of life of older persons through the use of information and communication technologies. The fourth call for research and development projects for improvement of the mobility of older persons took place in 2011, under the auspices of AAL.
Here, the Valens Clinics, under the leadership of Dr. P. Oesch PhD, PT and PD Dr. S. Bachmann together with partners in Norway and Spain, developed the GameUp project. This project was assessed as worthy of support by AAL, and financially supported by the EU and the Federal Office for Education and Technology.
GameUp uses technologies such as "Social Computing", "Serious Games" and "Persuasive Technologies" to promote the physical activity and mobility of older persons, with the aim of increasing confidence in their own physical abilities and reducing fear of falling.
Project partners: More information on GameUp is available at

Effectiveness and sustainability of stationary geriatric rehabilitation and barriers for when returning home

The primary aim of inpatient rehabilitation with older patients is improvement of functionality in everyday life and a consequent increase in independence and a reduction in care needs including nursing home admissions.
In order to check the effectiveness and sustainability of inpatient rehabilitation in geriatric patients in Switzerland, all patients over 65 assigned to the Valens Clinic for rehabilitation should be queried ovber a period of 12 months after the rehabilitation session. In addition, possible factors influencing the process, such as age, everyday functionality and accompanying diseases should be checked.
Project staff:
Valens Clinics: PD Dr. med. S. Bachmann; Dr. P. Oesch, PhD PT
University of Bern: Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Stuck, KM. Clough-Gorr, DSc, MPH
zhaw Winterthur: Dr. oec. S. Wieser

Development of a photography-based residence clarification

Falls are a common occurrence in the lives of older people, and they cause a loss of independence and quality of life in those affected, as well as high health and social costs. Frequent fall causes are environmental factors in the living area or the immediate vicinity of the same.
Residence clarifications by ergotherapists can identify environmental factors related to falls and other hindrances. However, these take a lot of time and require considerable personal sacrifice.
The Swiss Health Care system recognises a need for the development of efficient and cost-effective alternatives to existing methods. To this end, the Valens Clinics, in collaboration with the University of Bern, developed a photography-based residence clarification system and is investigating its feasibility, reliability and validity.
Valens Clinics: Heike Daniel, MSc ET, Dr. P. Oesch PhD PT, PD. Dr. med. S. Bachmann and the Valens ergotherapy team
University of Bern: Prof. Dr. med. A. Stuck, Ass. PD Dr. med. A. Schönenberger

Work-related rehabilitation

Development of an abridged version of Spinal Function Sort (SFS)

The SFS is an image-based questionnaire made for self-assessment for work-related activities, aimed at patients with back problems.
In an earlier task we were able to confirm the validity of this questionnaire with a body of patients in Europe. However, it showed that the questionnaire should be optimised.
In collaboration with the Bellikon Rehabilitation Clinic, the Union IG Ergonomy SAR and HES-SO Wallis, there should be developed an abridged version of the SFS and its reliability and validity are to be investigated.
Bellikon Rehabilitation Clinic: Svenja Jannsen, BSc PT; Maurizio Trippolini, MPTSc, Beatrice Jansen, MSc PT; Dr. med. M. Oliveri
Valens Clinics: Dr. Peter Oesch, PhD PT
HES-SO Wallis, Health Research Unit: Wallis: Roger Hilfiker, MPTSc

Observation criteria for assessment of physical exertion during an evaluation of functional capacity

Functional capacity evaluation (under the auspices of S. Isernhagen) investigates one's capacity for frequent work-type physical functions through the application of standardised functional performance tests. Thus, the functional performance threshold is determined by the observing examiner on the basis of specific assessment criteria.
The aim of the study is assessment of the reliability of these assessment criteria and investigation of the influence of the applied methods on the reliability.
Bellikon Rehabilitation Clinic: Maurizio Trippolini, MPTSc, Beatrice Jansen, MSc PT
Valens Clinics: Dr. Peter Oesch, PhD PT
University Medical Center Groningen: Prof. Pieter U. Dijkstra, PhD; Dr. Jan H. B. Geertzen, PhD; Dr. Michiel F. Reneman PhD

Musculoskeletal rehabilitation

Validation of the Iowa Level of Assistance Scale (ILOAS)

The purpose of the ILOAS is increasing the independence level of patients who have had a knee or hip prosthetic  operation when it comes to bed mobility, getting up, walking and climbing stairs. These activities have been assessed by American physiotherapists as the most important pre-requisites for a hospital discharge following a total endoprosthesis of the hip or the knee.
In Switzerland as well, the ILOAS could also prove a valuable instrument for measuring course and prognosis after knee or hip replacements. This study investigates the validity of the ILOAS in Switzerland.
Valens Clinics: Martina Cantieni, MSc PT; Dr. Peter Oesch, PhD PT
Bern Island Hospital: Martin Verra, cand. PhD PT
Zurzach Rehabilitation Centre: Thomas Benz, MSc PT

Neurological rehabilitation

These projects are undertaken in interdisciplinary collaboration with the Neurology and Neuro-rehabilitation Clinic.

Validation of the German version of the Motor Activity Log (MAL)

Rehabilitation after a stroke requires valid measurements of arm and hand functions which are sensitive to changes. What a patient with hemiparesis with an affected hand can do during a structured test situation (capacity) can differ from what they really do (performance). The Motor Activity Log increases  self-perceived arm and hand performance through the use of a frequency and satisfaction scale.
The results of the clinical properties of the MAL obtained to date are incomplete and contradictory. This study investigates the German version of the MAL with affected persons with minimum-to-moderate arm-hand function, at different recovery times (for internal consistency, construct validity, and responsiveness).
Valens Clinics: Christine Meier, PT MSc; Dr. Peter Oesch, PhD PT;

Climbing therapy for patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Climbing therapy and sport climbing are becoming ever more frequently applied with the purpose of rehabilitation of various diseases. The motivating factor of climbing is particularly worthy of note. It is generally postulated that climbing has an influence on supporting motor skills and balance, promotes co-ordination, physical condition and mental qualities, and supports the re-organisation of movement patterns.
Given the postulated aims of climbing therapy, its use with patients with MS makes sense. This study should investigate whether or not the application of this therapy is feasible with patients with advanced MS.
Valens Clinics: Franziska Spreitler PT bac NL; Dr. Peter Oesch, PhD PT; Dr. med. Serafin Beer
HES-SO Wallis, Health Research Unit: Wallis: Roger Hilfiker, MPTSc