The Bobath concept is used by physiotherapists when seeing patients with injuries to their brain or spinal chord (central nervous system disturbances). Conditions include strokes, polio, spinal chord lesions and progressive conditions such as Parkinsons. It was developed by Bertha Bobath, who was a gymnastic teacher and wanted to find ways of letting people with these conditions experience and re-learn normal movement.
This concept is not a technique but rather a way of assessing and treating patients. It is specifically suited to each patient and the physio will use up-to-date knowledge of how the brain/spinal chord works and recovers, as well as clinical reasoning (Sherlock Holmes) skills.
Because each condition will affect, not only the person’s body, but how they move and how they perform activities of daily living, how the therapist responds to each person will be unique. This is particularly relevant when each individual’s personal factors (e.g. hobbies), and context (e.g. where and how they live) are considered.
During the assessment, the phsyio will find out what you can’t do anymore, and why. Physios will then address problems with movement, function and control of posture.
Sometimes there may be permanent changes, in which case the physio and patient will try to find a solution around it, e.g. getting a walking frame, adjusting the house to accommodate the patient and changing a hobby to suite the patient.
The Bobath Concept encompasses people of all ages and types of disability- whether there have been many or few changes, whether it is a new or old injury, the aim of the therapist is to improve each individual’s quality of life.
‘The contemporary Bobath is a problem solving approach to the assessment and treatment of individuals with disturbances of function, movement and postural control due to the lesion of the Central Nervous System, and can be applied to individuals of all ages and degrees of functional disability’ (IBITA 2007)