Purpose: To examine the content of outcome measures that are frequently used in stroke rehabilitation and focus on activities and participation, by linking them to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Method. Constructs of the following instruments were linked to the ICF: Barthel Index, Berg Balance Scale, Chedoke McMaster Stroke Assessment Scale, Euroqol-5D, Functional Independence Measure, Frenchay Activities Index, Nottingham Health Profile, Rankin Scale, Rivermead Motor Assessment, Rivermead Mobility Index, Stroke Adapted Sickness Impact Profile 30, Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36, Stroke Impact Scale, Stroke Specific Quality of Life Scale and Timed Up and Go test. Results. It proved possible to link most constructs to the ICF. Most constructs fitted into the activities and participation component, with mobility being the category most frequently covered in the instruments. Although instruments were selected on the basis of their focus on activities and participation, 27% of the constructs addressed categories of body functions. Approximately 10% of the constructs could not be linked.
Conclusions: The ICF is a useful tool to examine and compare contents of instruments in stroke rehabilitation. This content comparison should enable clinicians and researchers to choose the measure that best matches the area of their interest.