Developing a Core Set to describe functioning in vocational rehabilitation using the international classification of functioning, disability, and health (ICF)

J Occup Rehabil. 2010 Dec;20(4):502-11. doi: 10.1007/s10926-010-9241-9.


Introduction: The consequences of accidents, injuries, and health conditions that prevent workers from engaging in employment are prevailing issues in the area of work disability. Vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs aim to facilitate return-to-work process but there is no universal description of functioning for patients who participate in VR. Our objective is to develop a Core Set for VR based on the international classification of functioning, disability, and health (ICF). An ICF Core Set is a short list of ICF categories with alphanumeric codes relevant to a health condition or a health-related event.

Methods: Development process consists of three phases. First is the preparatory phase which consists of four parallel studies: (1) systematic review of the literature, (2) worldwide survey of experts, (3) cross-sectional study, and (4) focus group interview. Patients with various health conditions are to be recruited from five VR centers located in Switzerland and Germany. The second phase is a consensus conference where findings from the preparatory phase will be presented followed by a multi-stage consensus process to determine the ICF categories that will comprise the Core Set for VR. The final phase consists of validation studies in several health conditions and settings.

Conclusions: We expect the first version of the ICF Core Set for VR to be completed in 2010. The Core Set can serve as a guide in the evaluation of patients and in planning appropriate intervention within VR programs. This Core Set could also provide a standard and common language among clinicians, researchers, insurers, and policymakers in the implementation of successful VR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abstracting and Indexing / classification
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Disabled Persons / classification*
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases / classification*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational / classification*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • World Health Organization