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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


FERNANDEZ-LOPEZ, Juan Antonio et al. Functioning and Disability: The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.83, n.6, pp.775-783. ISSN 2173-9110.

The World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) has provided a new foundation for our understanding of health, functioning, and disability. It covers most of the health and health-related domains that make up the human experience, and the most environmental factors that influence that experience of functioning and disability. With the exhaustive ICF, patients' functioning -including its components body functions and structures and activities and participation-, becomes a central perspective in medicine. To implement the ICF in medicine and other fields, practical tools (= ICF Core Sets) have been developed. They are selected sets of categories out of the whole classification which serve as minimal standards for the assessment and reporting of functioning and health for clinical studies and clinical encounters (Brief ICF Core Set) or as standards for multiprofessional comprehensive assessment (Comprehensive ICF Core Set). Different from generic and condition-specific health-status measures, the ICF Core Sets include important body functions and structures and contextual factors. The use of the ICF Core Sets provides an important step towards improved communications between healthcare providers and professionals, and will enable patients and their families to understand and communicate with health professionals about their functioning and treatment goals. Specific applications include multi- and interdisciplinary assessment in clinical settings and in legal expert evaluations and use in disease or functioning-management programs. The ICF has also a potential as a conceptual framework to clarify an interrelated universe of health-related concepts which can be elucidated based on the ICF and therefore will be an ideal tool for teaching students in all medical fields and may open doors to multi-professional learning.

Keywords : Health; Classification; ICF; Disability.

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