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. Several versions of the Barthel Index and their associated scoring methods exist. Shah et al. (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 evolved over a 10-year period from the mid-1950s until its publication in 1964. It was developed to permit nursing staff to assess the ability of patients with neuro-muscular and musculoskeletal disorders to care for themselves. It was one of the...
References and Readings
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