The implementation of the 'International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health' (ICF) in daily practice of neurorehabilitation: an interdisciplinary project at the Kantonsspital of Lucerne, Switzerland

Disabil Rehabil. 2003 Apr 22;25(8):411-21. doi: 10.1080/0963828031000069717.


Purpose: The current paper describes the implementation of ICF as a standard language and framework for description of human functioning and disability for common use in every day work by the multiprofessional team.

Method: An interdisciplinary project team involving all rehabilitation specialities was constituted. The extensive original document of ICF was broken down to a simplified raster for body functions and structures, activities and participation, as well as for contextual factors. These rasters had to cover the most important aspects concerning the patients treated on our unit. Checklists on the basis of these rasters were worked out for use by the different specialized teams. Using these checklists, rehabilitation conferences, form and language of interdisciplinary communication, goal setting and documentation were introduced newly in every day work for the interdisciplinary rehabilitation team, structured strictly based on the ICF-criteria.

Results: Since April 2002 the ICF-based processes are implemented in routine work for all members of the rehabilitation staff. First experiences show good acceptance by the team members, improvements in communication and documentation as well as substantial gains in content and handling of rehabilitation conferences. As a result of the implementation we observed, that participation, context and domiciliary interventions gained quite more influence in every day work at the unit.

Conclusion: Implementation improved considerably the quality of interdisciplinary work processes and contributed to a more systematic approach to rehabilitation tasks by the team members.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons / classification*
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Health Services / classification
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Switzerland
  • World Health Organization