The Bobath concept has long been used to improve postural control and limb function post-stroke, yet its effect in patients with deficits have not been clearly demonstrated. This study aimed to investigate the effect of the latest Bobath therapy programme on upper limb functions, muscle tone and sensation in chronic stroke individuals with moderate to severe deficits.
A pre–post test design was implemented. The participants were chronic stroke individuals (n=26). Home-based intervention based on the Bobath concept was administered 3 days per week for 6 weeks (20 repetitions × 3 sets per task each session). Outcome measures consisted of the Wolf Motor Function Test, Fugl-Meyer Assessment for the upper extremity, Modified Ashworth Scale, and the Revised Nottingham Sensory Assessment. Data were analysed using the Wilcoxon Signed rank test.
Almost all items of the Wolf Motor Function Test and the Fugl-Meyer Assessment for the upper extremity demonstrated statistically significant differences post-intervention. Finger flexor muscle tone and stereognosis were also significantly improved.
The 6-week Bobath therapy programme could improve upper limb function and impairments in chronic stroke individuals with moderate to severe deficits. Its effects were also demonstrated in improving muscle tone and cortical sensation.
Stroke is a global public health problem that leads to significant disabilities (World Health Organization, 2014). After discharge from a hospital, patients who have experienced stroke return to the community and many do not have access to physical therapy. Around 65% of patients who had experienced a stroke were unable to use their hemiparetic upper limb (Bruce and Dobkin, 2005). Those with moderate to severe arm deficits have difficulty in reaching to grasp, delay in time to maximal grip aperture, prolonged movement time, and a lack of accuracy (Michaelsen et al, 2009). A number of interventions have been proven to be effective in improving upper limb function post-stroke. However, there is little evidence of the effectiveness of these interventions for those with severe deficits.
The therapy programme based on the Bobath concept has been shown to improve upper limb function in individuals who have experienced chronic stroke (Huseyinsinoglu et al, 2012; Carvalho et al, 2018). The Bobath concept has been in evolution and the present clinical framework incorporates the integration of postural control and quality of task performance, selective movement, and the role of sensory information to promote normal movement pattern. Therapeutic activities involved movement facilitation together with patient’s active participation in practice to improve motor learning; nevertheless, implementation time varied across studies (Vaughan-Graham et al, 2009; Vaughan-Graham and Cott, 2016).
Among the few studies of patients with chronic stroke, none focused on the rehabilitation of patients with different degrees of deficit severity in the community. Moreover, previous studies using the Bobath concept were all conducted in clinical settings (Platz et al, 2005; Huseyinsinoglu et al, 2012).[…]
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