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The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: A Tool to Classify and Measure Functioning

  • G. Stucki
  • N. Kostanjsek
  • A. Cieza
Reference work entry

Abstract:

The endorsement of the  International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) by the 54th World Health Assembly in May 2001 mirrors an important shift in the priorities by the  World Health Organization (WHO). Although WHO has traditionally focused on infection control and mortality reduction WHO now also emphasizes the importance of reducing the burden associated with non-fatal health conditions. WHO has developed the ICF to provide a unified, international and standardized language for describing and classifying health and health-related domains and hence to provide a common framework for health outcome measurement. With the approval of the ICF the WHO member states are now called upon to implement the ICF in the health, education, labour and social sector. The ICF has found immediate interest in the health sciences with currently more than 600 ICF related publications reflecting the interest, relevance, and impact of its application in health research worldwide.

The  ICF categories are the discrete, meaningful, universally shared and understood elements which allow users to comprehensively classify and measure  functioning,  disability and health of individuals and populations. They are thus the building blocks for the construction of ICF-based practical tools such as the   ICF Checklist and the   ICF Core Sets as well as clinical measurement instruments such as the ICF Core Set Indices and self-reported measurement instruments such as the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule II (WHODAS II).

While ICF-based practical tools such as the ICF Core Sets allow the classification of functioning states, clinical and self-reported measurement instruments allow the measurement and hence the estimation of functioning status or aspects of it in relation to specific purposes. Vice versa, the ICF categories serve as meaningful and universal reference units for reporting and communicating results of measurements of aspects of functioning made with any measurement instrument from the infinite universe of measurement instruments including health-status measures or health-related quality of life measures.

Keywords

Measurement Instrument World Health Assembly Drive Function Categorical Profile Collaboration Center 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:

CAT

Computer Adaptive Testing

CTS

Classification, Terminology and Standards

DAR

Disability and  Rehabilitation

DIMDI

Deutsches Institut für Medizinische Dokumentation und Information

FDRG

Functioning and Disability Reference Group

ICD

 International Classification of Diseases

ICF

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

ICF-CY

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health for Children and Youth

ICIDH

 International Classification of Impairment, Disabilities and Handicaps

ICIDH-2

International Classification of Impairment, Disabilities and Handicaps-2

ILO

International Labour Organization

ISPRM

International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

NACC

North American Collaboration Center

NHP

Nottingham health profile

OMERACT

Outcome Measures in Theumatoid Arthritis Clinical Trials

SF-36

Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short-form health survey

SNOMED

Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine

UN

United Nations

UNCESCO

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNSTAT

United Nations Statistics Division

VAS

Visual Analog Scale

WHA

World Health Assembly

WHO FIC CC Network

World Health Organization Network of the Collaboration Centers for the Family of International Classifications

WHO

World Health Organization

WHODAS II

World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule II

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Prof. Jerome Bickenbach and Dr. Somnath Chatterij from WHO for the inspiring discussions of the ICF and related concepts and Dr. Thomas Ewert, Gisela Immich and Susanne Stucki for their help in the preparation of the manuscript.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Stucki
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • N. Kostanjsek
    • 2
  • A. Cieza
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Munich University HospitalLudwig Maximilian UniversityMunichGermany
  2. 2.World Health OrganizationClassification, Assessment, Surveys and Terminology (CTS) TeamGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.ICF Research Branch of WHO FIC CC (DIMDI)IHRS, Ludwig Maximilian UniversityMunichGermany
  4. 4.Swiss Paraplegic ResearchNottwilSwitzerland

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