Dorothea Wilhelmine (née Barthel) Beauchamp (1911 – 2003) was an American physical therapist.
At the time of her retirement she was the head of the Physical Therapy Department at three Maryland state hospitals, Montebello, Salisbury and Hagerstown. Eponymously remembered for defining the ‘Barthel Index’ with with Dr. Florence I. Mahoney in 1965. The pair originally described the measure as “A simple index of independence useful in scoring improvement in the rehabilitation of the chronically ill”. The Barthel Index is one of the most widely-used assessments of functional independence.
- Born March 9, 1911
- 1939 – BA, Goucher College
- 1945 – PT, Army medical center
- 1945-1946 US Army in World War II
- 1955 – Physical therapist at Montebello State Hospital, Baltimore
- 1956 – Instructor of rehabilitation in the Department of preventative medicine and rehabilitation, University of Maryland School of Medicine
- 1968 – Married William D. Beauchamp and took the name Dorothea B. Beauchamp
- Died October 22, 2003 (aged 92)
Barthel index (1965)
The Barthel Index (BI) measures ten functions that are important for independent living – feeding, bathing grooming, dressing, bowel and bladder continence, toileting, transfers, mobility, and stair use. Items are weighted and scored according to their perceived importance. Higher scores indicate better performance. In the most commonly used version, the maximum score of 100 indicates full independence.
The Barthel Index was one of the first activities of daily living (ADL) measures to be developed. Since its initial publication, it has been modified to both expand and restrict the item scoring. Shah (1989) expanded the scoring categories to improve the scale discriminability. Others have simplified the scoring system, while incorporating additional categories, to sum to a maximum of 20 points.
The BI and the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) are the two most widely used measures of ADL in stroke research. The BI tends to be used more frequently in Europe while the FIM is more likely to be used in North America. Despite problems with some psychometric properties of the BI, it has good clinical utility in that it requires little staff training, is quick and easy to administer, and is free.
History of the Barthel Index
Dorothea Barthel, designed the index in 1955 whilst a physical therapist at Montebello State Hospital in Baltimore. All patients undergoing rehabilitation at the hospital had the Barthel Index measured, leading to a number of publications utilizing it as the “gold standard” for functional evaluation.
- Mahoney FI, Barthel DW. Rehabilitation of the hemiplegic patient: a clinical evaluation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1954;35(6):359-362.
- Mahoney FI, Barthel DW, Callahan JP. Rehabilitation of the hemiplegic patient: a clinical evaluation. South Med J. 1955;48(5):472-480
- Mahoney FI, Wood OH, Barthel DW. Rehabilitation of chronically ill patients: the influence of complications on the final goal. South Med J. 1958;51(5):605-609.
- Mahoney F, Barthel D. Functional evaluation: The Barthel Index. Maryland State Medical Journal, 1965; 14: 61–65. [Barthel index]
- Mahoney FI, McCallum JA, Wood OH, Barthel DW. Rehabilitation of the chronically ill in the State of Maryland. South Med J. 1961;54:600-605.
- Shah S, Vanclay F, Cooper B. Improving the sensitivity of the Barthel Index for stroke rehabilitation. J Clin Epidemiol. 1989;42(8):703-709
- Sangha H, Lipson D, Foley N, et al. A comparison of the Barthel Index and the Functional Independence Measure as outcome measures in stroke rehabilitation: patterns of disability scale usage in clinical trials. Int J Rehabil Res. 2005;28(2):135-139.
- de Morton NA, Keating JL, Davidson M. Rasch analysis of the barthel index in the assessment of hospitalized older patients after admission for an acute medical condition. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008;89(4):641-647.
- Williams G. Barthel Index. In: Kreutzer J.S., DeLuca J., Caplan B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology. Springer. 2011: 345-346
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