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The use of the international classification of functioning, disability and health to understand the health and functioning experiences of people with chronic conditions from the person perspective: A systematic review


Alford, Vanessa M.; Ewen, Shaun; Webb, Gillian R. [u. a.]


k. A.


Disability and Rehabilitation, 2015, Volume 37 (Number 8), Seite 655-666, London: Informa Healthcare, ISSN: 0963-8288 (Print); 1464-5165 (Online)





This systematic review examines the literature to identify the context and extent of implementation of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) model to understand the experience of health and functioning in persons with chronic conditions from the person perspective.


The literature search was conducted through five electronic databases between 2001 and December 2012. Reference lists of included papers were also searched. Articles in which the ICF was used to understand the health and functioning experience of adults with chronic conditions from the person-perspective were included. Data were extracted and analysed to identify the year of publication, geographical location, health condition, context of ICF use, authors' remarks and identified limitations of the ICF.


Thirty-seven qualitative and mixed-methods studies were included representing 18 countries and a range of chronic conditions. The ICF was found to be used to elicit and analyse people's narratives, with the majority of studies reporting that the ICF provides a comprehensive analysis of experiences and needs from the person perspective. Some limitations to its use and the need to classify the 'personal factors' component were reported.


The ICF has been used to provide a comprehensive understanding of health and functioning in persons with chronic conditions from the person perspective, although there are currently relatively few studies which have used the ICF in this context. Limitations regarding its use were reported which should be considered by users of the model and during its revision process.

Implications for Rehabilitation:

The ICF encourages a bio-psycho-social and person-centred approach to healthcare and may provide a useful tool for guiding clinical assessment and encouraging clinicians to consider the multitude of factors which impact health, which may result in more specific and individualised treatment targeted at individual needs. Using a common framework that can be understood across health disciplines may enhance interdisciplinary communication and collaboration, improving health care delivery. The ICF may be used to compare perspectives of individuals and their health professionals and to identify people's needs that are not adequately being addressed, which may have significant implications for improving healthcare provided and overall health outcomes.

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Disability and Rehabilitation

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Informationsstand: 17.03.2016

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