Background: For clinical use and research of pain within the context of vocational rehabilitation, a specific core set of measurements is needed. The recommendations of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) brief Core Set for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and those of Initiative on Methods, Measurement, and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials (IMMPACT) cover two broad areas. These two sources can be integrated when made applicable to vocational rehabilitation and pain. Objective To develop a core set of diagnostic and evaluative measures specifically for vocational rehabilitation of patients with subacute and chronic musculoskeletal pain, while using the brief ICF core set for VR as the reference framework in VR, and the IMMPACT recommendations in the outcome measurements around pain.
Methods: Three main steps were taken. The first step was to remove irrelevant and duplicate domains of the brief ICF Core Set for Vocational Rehabilitation and the IMMPACT recommendations around pain. The second step was to match the remaining domains with existing instruments or measures. Instruments were proposed based on availability and its proven use in Dutch practice and based on proof of sufficient clinimetric properties. In step 3, the preliminary VR-Pain core set was presented to 3 expert panels: proposed users, Dutch pain rehabilitation experts, and international VR experts.
Results: Experts agreed with the majority of the proposed domains and instruments. The final VR-Pain Core Set consists of 18 domains measured with 12 instruments. All instruments possessed basic clinimetric properties.
Conclusion: An agreed-upon VR-Pain Core Set with content that covers relevant domains for pain and VR and validated instruments measuring these domains has been developed. The VR-Pain Core Set may be used for regular clinical purposes and research in the field of vocational rehabilitation and pain, but adaptations should be considered for use outside the Netherlands.