Study design: A formal decision-making and consensus process integrating evidence gathered from preparatory studies was followed.
Objectives: The objective of the study was to report on the results of the consensus process to develop the first version of a Comprehensive International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Core Set, and a Brief ICF Core Set for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) in the long-term context.
Setting: The consensus conference took place in Switzerland. Preparatory studies were performed worldwide.
Methods: Preparatory studies included an expert survey, a systematic literature review, a qualitative study and empirical data collection involving people with SCI. Relevant ICF categories were identified in a formal consensus process by international experts from different backgrounds.
Results: The preparatory studies identified a set of 595 ICF categories at the second, third or fourth level. A total of 34 experts from 31 countries attended the consensus conference (12 physicians, 6 physical therapists, 5 occupational therapists, 6 nurses, 3 psychologists and 2 social workers). Altogether, 168 second-, third- or fourth-level categories were included in the Comprehensive ICF Core with 44 categories from body functions, 19 from body structures, 64 from activities and participation and 41 from environmental factors. The Brief Core Set included a total of 33 second-level categories with 9 on body functions, 4 on body structures, 11 on activities and participation and 9 on environmental factors.
Conclusion: A formal consensus process integrating evidence and expert opinion based on the ICF led to the definition of the ICF Core Sets for individuals with SCI in the long-term context. Further validation of this first version is needed.