Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 156–166 | Cite as

Identification of Relevant ICF Categories in Vocational Rehabilitation: A Cross Sectional Study Evaluating the Clinical Perspective

  • Monika E. Finger
  • Andrea Glässel
  • Peter Erhart
  • Felix Gradinger
  • Andreas Klipstein
  • Gilles Rivier
  • Maria Schröer
  • Christian Wenk
  • Hans Peter Gmünder
  • Gerold Stucki
  • Reuben Escorpizo


Introduction Vocational rehabilitation (VR) emphasizes a need for medical support, rehabilitation and biopsychosocial approach to enable individuals to successfully participate in the workforce. Optimal rehabilitation management relies on an in-depth knowledge of the typical spectrum of problems encountered of patients in VR. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) is based on a universal conceptual model and provides a holistic view of functioning of the lived experience of people such as those undergoing VR. The objectives of this study are to describe the functioning and health of persons undergoing VR and to identify the most common problems around work and in VR using the ICF as the reference framework. Methods An empirical cross-sectional multicenter study was conducted using convenience sampling from March 2009 to March 2010. Data were collected using a Case Record Form rated by health professionals which was based on an extended version of the ICF Checklist containing 292 ICF categories and sociodemographic information. Results 152 patients with various health conditions participated. We identified categories from all four ICF components: 24 for body functions, six for body structures, 45 for activities and participation, and 25 for environmental factors. Conclusions Our study identified a multitude of ICF categories that describe functioning domains and which represent the complexity of VR. Such a comprehensive approach in assessing patients in VR may help to understand and customize the process of VR in the clinical setting and to enhance multidisciplinary communication.


ICF Cross-sectional study ICF-checklist Vocational rehabilitation 



The authors would like to thank Wolfgang Segerer for providing technical consultation, data preparation, and assistance during the conduct of the study. Special thanks to Stéphanie Bessard, Olivier Deriaz, Brigitte Egli, Karl Emmenegger, Jacqueline Huber, Jochen Kunert, Markus Roth, Jana Skoblikova and Christine Treitler who made the data collection in the study centers possible. This project was funded by the Swiss Accident Insurance Company (Suva).

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monika E. Finger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Andrea Glässel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter Erhart
    • 3
  • Felix Gradinger
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andreas Klipstein
    • 4
    • 5
  • Gilles Rivier
    • 6
  • Maria Schröer
    • 7
  • Christian Wenk
    • 8
  • Hans Peter Gmünder
    • 3
  • Gerold Stucki
    • 1
    • 2
    • 9
  • Reuben Escorpizo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 9
  1. 1.Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPF)NottwilSwitzerland
  2. 2.ICF Research Branch in cooperation with the WHO Collaborating Centre for the Family of International Classification in Germany (at DIMDI)NottwilSwitzerland
  3. 3.Rehaklinik BellikonBellikonSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of Rheumatology and Institute of Physical MedicineUniversity HospitalZurichSwitzerland
  5. 5.Department of Disability ManagementCenter of Occupational Health AEHZurichSwitzerland
  6. 6.Centre de Réadaptation SuvaSionSwitzerland
  7. 7.Berufsförderungswerk MünchenKirchseeonGermany
  8. 8.Swiss Paraplegic Center, (SPZ)NottwilSwitzerland
  9. 9.Department of Health Sciences and Health PolicyUniversity of Lucerne and SPFNottwilSwitzerland

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