Validation of the Comprehensive ICF Core Set for obstructive pulmonary diseases from the perspective of physiotherapists.

The ‘Comprehensive ICF Core Set for obstructive pulmonary diseases’ (OPD) is an application of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and represents the typical spectrum of problems in functioning of patients with OPD. To optimize a multidisciplinary and patient-oriented approach in pulmonary rehabilitation, in which physiotherapy plays an important role, the ICF offers a standardized language and understanding of functioning. For it to be a useful tool for physiotherapists in rehabilitation of patients with OPD, the objective of this study was to validate this Comprehensive ICF Core Set for OPD from the perspective of physiotherapists. A three-round survey based on the Delphi technique of physiotherapists who are experienced in the treatment of OPD asked about the problems, resources and aspects of environment of patients with OPD that physiotherapists treat in clinical practice (physiotherapy intervention categories). Responses were linked to the ICF and compared with the existing Comprehensive ICF Core Set for OPD. Fifty-one physiotherapists from 18 countries named 904 single terms that were linked to 124 ICF categories, 9 personal factors and 16 ‘not classified’ concepts. The identified ICF categories were mainly third-level categories compared with mainly second-level categories of the Comprehensive ICF Core Set for OPD. Seventy of the ICF categories, all personal factors and 15 ‘not classified’ concepts gained more than 75% agreement among the physiotherapists. Of these ICF categories, 55 (78.5%) were covered by the Comprehensive ICF Core Set for OPD.

The validity of the Comprehensive ICF Core Set for COPD was largely supported by the physiotherapists. Nevertheless, ICF categories that were not covered, personal factors and not classified terms offer opportunities towards the final ICF Core Set for OPD and further research to strengthen physiotherapists’ perspective in pulmonary rehabilitation.

Rauch A, Kirchberger I, Stucki G, Cieza A. Validation of the Comprehensive ICF Core Set for obstructive pulmonary diseases from the perspective of physiotherapists. Physiother Res Int. 2009 Dec;14(4):242-59

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