Lennon, Sheila, Baxter, David and Ashburn, Ann
Physiotherapy based on the Bobath concept in stroke rehabilitation: a survey within the UK
Journal of Disability and Rehabilitation, 23, (6), . (doi:10.1080/096382801750110892).
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PURPOSE: The Bobath concept is one of the most widely used approaches in stroke rehabilitation within Europe. This survey aimed to provide an expert consensus view of the theoretical beliefs underlying current Bobath practise in the UK.
METHOD: Questionnaires (with sections related to: therapist background, physiotherapy management, theoretical beliefs and gait re-education strategies used) were posted to all senior level physiotherapists working in stroke care (n = 1,022).
RESULTS: The majority of respondents had more than 10 year's experience overall and at least 5 years experience in stroke care. The Bobath concept was the preferred approach (n = 67%) followed by an 'eclectic' approach (n = 31%). Despite a high level of consensus between groups, there were 13 significant differences highlighted between Bobath and 'eclectic' groups related to recovery, control of tone, the analysis and facilitation of normal movement and function. In summary. Bobath therapists considered that patients needed to have normal tone and use normal movement patterns in order to perform functional tasks. They would delay patients from performing tasks independently if abnormal tone and movement would be reinforced by task practice. They were not opposed to the use of walking aids and orthotics.
CONCLUSIONS: This survey has raised several issues for debate within physiotherapy such as the automatic translation of movement into function, carry over outside therapy, and the way in which tasks should be practiced. The dominance of the Bobath concept needs to be justified by establishing that it is both effective and efficient at achieving its treatment aims of: normalizing tone, improving intrinsic recovery of the affected side and function within everyday tasks.
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