Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 147–155 | Cite as

An International Expert Survey on Functioning in Vocational Rehabilitation Using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

  • Reuben Escorpizo
  • Monika E. Finger
  • Andrea Glässel
  • Alarcos Cieza


Background Vocational rehabilitation (VR) is a key process in work disability (WD) management which aims to engage or re-engage individuals to work and employment. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) by the World Health Organization (WHO) can be interfaced with VR but there is a lack of evidence of what ICF contents experts in the field consider. The objective of this study is to survey the experts in the VR field with regard to what factors are considered important to patients participating in VR using the ICF as the language to summarize the results. Methods An internet-based survey was conducted with experts from six WHO Regions (Africa, the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, South-East Asia, and Western Pacific). Experts were asked six open-ended questions on factors that are important in VR. Each question was related to a component of the ICF (body functions, body structures, activities and, environmental factors, and personal factors). Responses were linked to the ICF. Results Using a modified stratified randomized sampling, 201 experts were sent the survey and 151 experts responded (75% response rate). We identified 101 ICF categories: 22 (21.8%) for body functions, 13 (12.9%) for body structures, 36 (35.6%) for activities and participation, and 30 (29.7%) for environmental factors. Conclusions There was a multitude of ICF functioning domains according to the respondents which indicates the complexity of VR. This expert survey has provided a list of ICF categories which could be considered in VR.


ICF Vocational rehabilitation Survey Expert Work Employment 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Teresa Brinkel, Veronika Lay, Miriam Lückenkemper, Andrea Pfingsten, and Wolfgang Segerer for providing technical consultation and help during the conduct of the study. Special thanks to Cristina Bostan, who is supported by a Marie Curie Fellowship from the EU funded project MURINET, the ICF Research Branch and the Swiss Paraplegic Research in Nottwil, Switzerland. This project was funded by the Swiss Accident Insurance Company (SUVA).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reuben Escorpizo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  • Monika E. Finger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Andrea Glässel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alarcos Cieza
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPF)NottwilSwitzerland
  2. 2.ICF Research Branch of WHO Collaborating Centre for the Family of International Classifications in GermanNottwilSwitzerland
  3. 3.ICF Research Branch of WHO Collaborating Centre for the Family of International Classifications in GermanMunichGermany
  4. 4.Rehaklinik BellikonBellikonSwitzerland
  5. 5.Institute for Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Research Unit for Biopsychosocial HealthLudwig-Maximilians UniversitätMunichGermany
  6. 6.Department of Health Sciences and Health PolicyUniversity of LucerneNottwilSwitzerland

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