Identification of relevant ICF categories in patients with chronic health conditions: a Delphi exercise

J Rehabil Med. 2004 Jul:(44 Suppl):12-21. doi: 10.1080/16501960410015443.


Objectives: To identify the most typical and relevant categories of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) for patients with low back pain, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, chronic generalized pain, stroke, depression, obesity, chronic ischaemic heart disease, obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, and breast cancer.

Methods: An international expert survey using the Delphi technique was conducted. Data were collected in 3 rounds. Answers were linked to the ICF and analysed for the degree of consensus.

Results: Between 21 (osteoporosis, chronic ischaemic heart disease, and obstructive pulmonary disease) and 43 (stroke) experts responded in each of the conditions. In all conditions, with the exception of depression, there were categories in all ICF components that were considered typical and/or relevant by at least 80% of the responders. While all conditions had a distinct typical spectrum of relevant ICF categories, there were also some common relevant categories throughout the majority of conditions.

Conclusion: Lists of ICF categories that are considered relevant and typical for specific conditions by international experts could be created. This is an important step towards identifying ICF Core Sets for chronic conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification
  • Chronic Disease / classification*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Delphi Technique*
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Disabled Persons / classification
  • Health Personnel
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment / classification
  • World Health Organization