A Conceptual Definition of Vocational Rehabilitation Based on the ICF: Building a Shared Global Model
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Background The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) is a conceptual framework and classification system by the World Health Organization (WHO) to understand functioning. The objective of this discussion paper is to offer a conceptual definition for vocational rehabilitation (VR) based on the ICF. Method We presented the ICF as a model for application in VR and the rationale for the integration of the ICF. We also briefly reviewed other work disability models. Results Five essential elements of foci were found towards a conceptual definition of VR: an engagement or re-engagement to work, along a work continuum, involved health conditions or events leading to work disability, patient-centered and evidence-based, and is multi-professional or multidisciplinary. Conclusions VR refers to a multi-professional approach that is provided to individuals of working age with health-related impairments, limitations, or restrictions with work functioning and whose primary aim is to optimize work participation. We propose that the ICF and VR interface be explored further using empirical and qualitative works and encouraging stakeholders’ participation.
KeywordsICF Vocational rehabilitation Employment Work Concept formation Theory
The authors would like to thank Debra Homa (Department of Rehabilitation and Counseling, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie WI, USA), Eva Schonstein (Medibank Health Solutions and The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia), Urban Studer (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen SBB, Bern, Switzerland), and Jos Verbeek (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Kuopio, Finland) for serving as reviewers of the manuscript prior to submission. We also would like to thank the other members of the International Work Rehabilitation Network (i-NetWork) for their active participation during the conference on the ICF Core Set Development for Vocational Rehabilitation: Alex Burdorf (The Netherlands), Tania Buys (South Africa), Jain Holmes (UK), Stefan Koch (Germany), Jan Kool (Switzerland), Dennis Nowak (Germany), Rahel Oertli (Switzerland), Soo-Kyung Park (South Korea), Robin Pickard (UK), Stefan Staubli (Switzerland), and Frank Staudenmann (Switzerland). i-NetWork is an informal network of researchers, practitioners, and advocates whose interest is to advance the field of work rehabilitation. Special thanks to Monika Finger and Miriam Lückenkemper for reviewing the manuscript prior to submission.
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