ICF-Based Tools in Rehabilitation Toward Return to Work: Facilitating Inter-professional Communication and Comprehensive Documentation

  • Melissa SelbEmail author
  • Andrea Glässel
  • Reuben Escorpizo
Part of the Handbooks in Health, Work, and Disability book series (SHHDW)


An important goal of rehabilitation with regard to community integration is return-to-work, and vocational rehabilitation plays a key role in return-to-work efforts as well as encouraging employment retention. For vocational rehabilitation to be successful, a comprehensive, client-oriented, and inter-professional rehabilitation management approach is essential. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF), specifically ICF-based documentation tools that correspond to the “Rehab-Cycle” model, can guide the inter-professional rehabilitation management process by providing the rehabilitation team tools for structuring and coordinating their tasks from the identification of the problem to the planning of rehabilitation services, thereby promoting inter-professional communication and facilitating comprehensive client-oriented documentation. This chapter outlines the ICF-based documentation tools – ICF Assessment Sheet, ICF Categorical Profile, ICF Intervention Table, and the ICF Evaluation Display – and illustrates the use of these tools in a case example of Martin, a 26-year-old male with paraplegia, who participated in vocational rehabilitation program.


Spinal Cord Injury Vocational Rehabilitation Rehabilitation Professional Canadian Occupational Performance Measure Vocational Rehabilitation Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank the client and the rehabilitation team at Swiss Paraplegic Center in Nottwil, Switzerland, as well as coauthors of the original publication, Alexandra Rauch, Karl Emmenegger, and Miriam Lückenkemper for their invaluable support.

Ethical Approval

The case study was approved by the Cantonal Ethics Commission of Lucerne, Switzerland, with project number 628/30 October 2006 and was performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Study Questions

  1. 1.
    What are ICF Core Sets?
    • Answer: ICF Core Sets are short lists of ICF categories that are considered relevant for describing individuals with a given health condition or within a health-related context or setting.

  2. 2.
    What are the key elements of the Rehab-Cycle and their corresponding ICF-based documentation tools?
    • Answer: The key elements of the Rehab-Cycle are assessment, assignment, intervention and evaluation. While the ICF Assessment Sheet and the ICF Categorical Profile can facilitate the assessment phase, the ICF Intervention Table can be used in the assignment and intervention phase, and the ICF Evaluation Display in the evaluation phase.

  3. 3.
    What is the purpose of the ICF Assessment Sheet, ICF Categorical Profile, ICF Intervention Table and ICF Evaluation Display?
    • Answer:
      • The ICF Assessment Sheet provides an overview of the client’s functioning state with input from both the client and the rehabilitation professional.

      • The ICF Categorical Profile facilitates the identification of intervention targets by defining long and short-term goals and outlining the client’s functioning status in selected ICF categories.

      • The ICF Intervention Table supports intervention planning by providing a comprehensive overview of all of the interventions targets (as represented by ICF categories), the interventions, and the corresponding rehabilitation professional assigned to address each intervention target.

      • The ICF Evaluation Display indicates whether the shared goals set by the client and rehabilitation team were achieved based on the ICF Categorical Profile and the results of the re-examination of the client’s functioning after intervention.



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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa Selb
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Andrea Glässel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Reuben Escorpizo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Swiss Paraplegic ResearchNottwilSwitzerland
  2. 2.ICF Research Branch, WHO CC FIC in Germany (DIMDI)NottwilSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Rehabilitation and Movement ScienceThe University of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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